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© Copyright 2012–Linda Fitzpatrick All rights reserved. This book is protected by the copyright laws of the United States of America. This book may not be copied or reprinted for commercial gain or profit. The use of short quotations or occasional page copying for personal or group study is permitted and encouraged. Permission will be granted upon request. Unless otherwise identified, Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975, 1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. Please note that Destiny Image’s publishing style capitalizes certain pronouns in Scripture that refer to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and may differ from some publishers’ styles. Take note that the name satan and related names are not capitalized. We choose not to acknowledge him, even to the point of violating grammatical rules. DESTINY IMAGE® PUBLISHERS, INC. P.O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310 “Promoting Inspired Lives.” This book and all other Destiny Image, Revival Press, MercyPlace, Fresh Bread, Destiny Image Fiction, and Treasure House books are available at Christian bookstores and distributors worldwide. For a U.S. bookstore nearest you, call 1-800-722-6774. For more information on foreign distributors, call 717-532-3040. Reach us on the Internet: www.destinyimage.com. ISBN 13 TP: 978-0-7684-4053-9 ISBN 13 Ebook: 978-0-7684-8885-2 For Worldwide Distribution, Printed in the U.S.A. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 / 16 15 14 13 12
Revelation 1:19 says, “Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things.” (NASB) The call to write this book was also heard by my husband, Roger. His support, sacrifice, prayers, and encouragement were invaluable. We join our hands together and now lift this book up in dedication to Jesus. We pray for those who will find a relationship with Jesus and for those who will seek their destiny and purpose in Him as a result of this writing. Dancing with Jesus is glorious!
I never felt a partner change at all.Acknowledgments I thank my God with every remembrance of you… A nail-scarred hand was extended. and a Father to the fatherless. my husband. God graciously allowed Roger to cut in on the dance and to become my beloved marriage partner. At the joining of my hand and heart to His. To you Roger. encouragement. Ryan and Zach—I thank my God for you. And to Jesus I am eternally grateful. I offer my appreciation and love for being a man of God with integrity with whom my heart and the hearts of our sons were . Jesus captured me as He turned my mourning into dancing. my life began anew. To my precious and wonderful sons. acceptance. As my life continued. and faithfulness. You have been such a blessing and you taught me to smile while I danced. Roger—your support. An offer of salvation was made. He became my Ishi. With promises of love. and love so resembled Jesus’ own. even when times were hard.
and my brother. With a divine sweep. and prayers. Avery and Cameron. You have been used mightily by God in my life. Now as Mimi and Papa to our grandchildren. and I know you will recognize them. which gave me practice to write this book! To Pastor Roger and Beth Bourgeois and my family at Fellowship of Living Praise—you have shown me God’s truth through the teaching of His Word and by your daily examples of worship and service to Jesus. prayed. It is our joint prayer they become true worshipers of Jesus and dance closer with Him than we have ever known. Thank you all for your support. and worked together as sisters. To Ginger. I thank you for teaching me the dance steps of commitment and faith and how to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit.safe. Carol and Cathy. the daughter God gave us—thank you for dancing with Avery and loving her Daddy so well. Dancing with Jesus with you all has been a great honor and blessing. The Fellowship of Living Praise Dance Ministry Team exemplifies the dancing Bride of Christ like none other. We have cried. our hearts dance with delight. and I appreciate your prayers for me and my family throughout the years. This book is filled with nuggets of truth He has shown us. To my sisters. the Lord gathered to Himself a company of dancers with whom I have been proudly associated. learned. and my parents now deceased—I thank you all for listening to my long stories at the dinner table when I was young. but especially for being my friends. Rick. encouragement. I believe our greatest dance is yet to come as we dance for the day! . laughed.
.“Let them praise His name with dancing…” (Psalm 149:3).
. . . 49 John. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bring Us Peace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Sunrise. . . . . . . 27 chapter 1 chapter 2 Herod Antipas’ Palace and Akil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 chapter 3 chapter 4 chapter 5 chapter 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Contents Foreword. . . . . 55 A Lighter Load to Carry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Prologue . . . . . . . . . . . . the Wilderness Crier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Yaron Ben-David’s Royal Commission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 A Path Made Straight . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Introduction . . . . . . . . .
115 Festive Illusions . . . . . . . . 155 So They Can Be Sound in Their Faith . . . . . 107 A Change of Plans . . . . 141 Silencing the Wilderness Crier . . . . . . . . . the Helpful . . . . . 81 “My Dancer”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163 chapter 9 c h a p t e r 10 c h a p t e r 11 c h a p t e r 12 c h a p t e r 13 c h a p t e r 14 c h a p t e r 15 c h a p t e r 16 c h a p t e r 17 c h a p t e r 18 c h a p t e r 19 c h a p t e r 20 c h a p t e r 21 c h a p t e r 22 c h a p t e r 23 . . . . . . 125 Brotherly Love . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Royal Deceptions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131 Cloak of Darkness. . . . . . . the Weapon of Seduction . . . . 137 Dance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 The Aftermath of Prophetic Destinies When They Collide . . . . . . . 77 And It Came to Pass . . . . . . . . . . .chapter 7 chapter 8 Bread and Gossip . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 Lost in Beauty . . . . 133 Jahi. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 The Dancing Healer. . . . . . . . . . . . 159 The Sounds of Obedience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151 Days of Darkness and Light . . . . . . . .
183 The Prophetic Sound of the Fire . . . . . . . . . . . . 209 Following the Sound of a New Partner . . 175 A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221 Counterfeit to the Original . . . . 247 c h a p t e r 25 c h a p t e r 26 c h a p t e r 27 c h a p t e r 28 c h a p t e r 29 c h a p t e r 30 c h a p t e r 31 c h a p t e r 32 c h a p t e r 33 c h a p t e r 34 . . . . . . . . . . Warrior Bride . 231 Prophetic Sound and Movement . . . . . . . . . . 205 Dancing With Eyes Wide Open . . . . . . . .c h a p t e r 24 For the Joy Set Before Him. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197 Slow Dancing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187 The Virgin Shall Rejoice in the Dance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 241 Dance Onward. . . . . . . . . He Endured the Dance . . . . 217 Dance Lessons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
her new identity as a valued bride to her current husband. her solitary years of raising two sons. and her heartfelt discovery of her divine identity and destiny in 15 . the quest of the newly redeemed normally begins focusing on “What now?” Or. Once the assurance and excitement of being “born again” is settled. or even ethnic expression of Christianity makes no difference.Foreword The most common question I have received from Christians over the past 32 years as a pastor has been. cultural. I’m eternally saved. “What do I do for God after all that He has done for me? Yes. but what is the purpose of the rest of my life? How can I make a difference in this world? How do I impact my world for the purposes of the Kingdom of God?” While you may be unfamiliar with this author. I have known Linda Fitzpatrick through life’s many ups and downs: the tragic death of her first husband. “What is God’s will for my life?” I have been privileged to minister among various expressions of Christianity and in a few foreign nations. The denominational.
enabling her to fulfill her Kingdom destiny with power and purpose. but I have personally traveled this path with her. teaches. That’s all satan can do because there is no truth. This story will captivate you. Abia comes into the full knowledge of how to please her heavenly Father! This is truly a quest that Linda Fitzpatrick has personally experienced. it is also an intriguing story of one’s divine calling. kill. and yet the enemy of all of God’s children attempted to steal. but she also understands the sheer joy of pleasing the Lord of the Dance! Let me issue a friendly warning to the reader. marvelous redemption. The dramatic blend of the main character’s growing spiritual life in a combination of both 16 . It is Linda’s own redemptive story that unfolds before the reader. You will be compelled to read the next chapter. and no creativity in him. However. I have not only witnessed her personal quest to come into alignment with Father’s will and desire for her life. and realization of satisfying spiritual fulfillment. no life. deep revelation. A tragic accident seemingly aborted Linda’s own destiny to become a dancer. strong character. This story is about receiving the unfolding fulfillment of God’s best! The quest is completed when the Holy Spirit propels.Danc ing wit h Jesus Jesus. She not only understands the power of dance for either evil or good. her personal encounters with Jesus first healed her spirit and then her body. then the next. the book doesn’t stop there. This book is about a young lady named Abia whose divine purpose and identity were established before the foundations of the earth were established. empowers. ensuing disappointment. and directs the servant of Christ how to personally express the presence of the Father in the Kingdom He is establishing on the earth. and destroy Father’s will for her life. That’s what satan does! He attempts to abort Father’s divine destiny and identity for His children. However. You will not want to put this book down once you begin to read it! It will draw you into the setting and characters like Elijah was swept up into a whirlwind.
Even the conclusion will leave you desirous of a sequel.Foreword the historical and spiritual worlds will keep you desiring more as you move from one adventurous chapter to the next. tell me what happens to her now that she has discovered Father’s will for her life!” Roger Bourgeois Pastor 17 . You will be asking. “Where does Abia go from here? I want to know more.
nor of his own family of origin. Yaron observed a scene he had never grown tired of seeing in the 17 years of their marriage: his faithful wife with his wonderful children who were sleeping safe and sound nearby. giving away her location and just enough light to provide a clue to his missing right sandal. ruddy. clay olive oil lamp produced a soft golden glow that framed the face of his lovely wife. Standing in the narrow doorway.Prologue “Hannah?” Yaron Ben-David questioned sleepily while feeling the warm indention in the bed beside him where his wife had been. Still trying to find his shoes. A small. 19 . but not before discovering that the late summer’s sun that made the town of Jerusalem in the year of 3778 hot by day had long since turned the dirt floor cool by night. That could not be said of many Jewish families of the region. his feet made sleepy circles while he rubbed the remaining slumber from his eyes. His bare feet searched the floor for his sandals.
who was busied by the daily chores and hard work of being a fisherman. to be slaughtered. He had lived a peaceful life next to the shores of Galilee with his father. which was a sign to them of the arrival of a new King. Each house was violated as the soldiers searched for little boys to be slain. The screaming refrain could be heard down every street and from every home. With one slice. His family’s horrified screams joined the growing chorus of voices from Jewish families throughout history as another tragic stanza was written. When the child could not be found. Pushing Yaron aside. from a different part of the world had seen a new star in the heavens.Danc ing wit h Jesus Allowing himself a brief visit to the earlier days of his childhood. but the two bloodthirsty soldiers knocked him to the ground. 20 . he recalled that the then 17-year-old Yaron’s life had been an ordinary one. and his 2-year-old brother—until the day when the Roman soldiers stormed Bethlehem and all its vicinity in search of a young child whose birth enraged King Herod. and he gave the command to his soldiers to find the child with the pretense of worshiping Him. King Herod held an unreasonable fear of anyone he considered a threat to the kingdom of Judah. His father’s strong body made a temporary shelter. and surrounding towns and villages. Being led to this region. they scanned the darkened room in search of their prey. the Magi made inquiries of King Herod as to the whereabouts of the newly born King of the Jews. his mother. Their pleading fell on deafened ears as one of the soldiers jerked from his mother’s arms the youngest son of Ben-David. or wise men. only to reveal his mother and baby brother. in an obsessive fit of rage Herod commanded all male children around two years of age in Bethlehem. including his own. his brother’s innocent blood left yet another stain on the soldier’s uniform as they quickly turned their attention to finding more victims. Magi.
They were used for dying fabrics different colors. Stepping out in search of his wife. which was no longer sufficient for the young man’s growing body.Prologue With a quick shake of his head. When the heat became too oppressive. they moved the pots outside into the courtyard if weather permitted. It joined other houses around a central shared courtyard where water was gathered daily from the public well and stored in the courtyard cistern. gratitude filled his heart. The smaller room on the left housed his two daughters. used for making boat sails. he almost tripped over the long legs and growing feet of their 13-year-old son. was utilized in a variety of ways. which they called the kitchen room. he was thankful to be alive. Samuel. Yaron tried to bring his thoughts to the present and once again scatter the horrendous memories of the past. The blanketed pallet. was in the hallway just outside the kitchen in 21 . God had indeed blessed him once again with a wonderful family and flourishing sewing business. Their house had three rooms that made an “L” shape. The modest rectangular house on the end of a street not far from the open market in Jerusalem provided adequate space for them all. with the bigger room in the center and two small rooms flanking each side. Inside the largest room was a set of stairs that led to the flat roof of their house. could be billowed out to be sewn on wooden tables. for which he was eternally thankful. but was extremely hot in the summer. It was a fully functional kitchen as well. To the right of the larger room was the bedroom Yaron shared with his wife. It was large enough so that giant bolts of thick fabric. Although he could not understand the ways of God. but at night it doubled as a bedroom for his son. The larger room. Large black cooking pots of boiling water and dyes were in the corner of the kitchen. As he peered into the adjoining room. as requested by their clients when they placed their orders. The kitchen room was the coziest room in the house in the winter.
and the sacrifice was made gladly. and almond-shaped. “Samuel the Dependable” had been true to the nickname given to him as he worked so diligently as a young child when the family business first began. he recalled as he compared the three wonderful females in his life. Still in her wheat-colored tunic undergarment. As he looked down at his son. “Hush. brown eyes. A son and such a hardworking boy. Abia. upturned smiles. After Judith was born and became old enough to sleep away from her parents. his three-year old. she and Abia shared Samuel’s room. Abia and Judith were Yaron’s pride and joy. trying not to awaken the round ball of Judith nuzzled beside her and Samuel. Samuel was as taken by his sisters as their father.Danc ing wit h Jesus an attempt to escape the still smoldering ashes beneath the black pots. soft. his five-year-old daughter.” she whispered. They loved to sing and dance. forcing him to sleep in the kitchen room. as did all good Jewish men with their firstborn sons. he thought to himself proudly. Careful not to step on his son. slept together on a small blanketed mat in the corner of the small room. Yaron went to his daughters’ room. 22 . and Judith. They could always make him laugh. The mere thought of them brought a smile to his sleepy face. it was only a dream. He knew firsthand how valuable sons were when he alone had to do a greater share of the work after the death of his own brother. who was sleeping in the hall nearby. but when the next was born. each possessed a power over him of which they never took full advantage. Hannah cradled Abia. dark auburn hair. Just like their mother. Hannah. whose body shook from tears brought on by a dream. he was once again filled with gratitude. the small room became theirs. and their sweet innocence pulled at his heartstrings. Samuel had the room to himself for ten long years before Abia came along. making a loving and lively home for him to live in. Sharing long. little one. All the babies had first slept in their parents’ room.
” she obeyed him at the same time that she finished her sentence. Abia?” Hannah inquired. “Go back to sleep. “Who let go of your hand. Momma. Although they worked together side by side stitching and producing other merchandise. He is the nicest man in the whole.” Abia’s pink lips formed a drowsy pout as she gave reason for the tears. With the Ben-David family nicely settled back into their beds. “At first. “Yaron. With his large hand he gently removed from her peach-colored cheek a wisp of dark brown hair. my little sweet-talker!” His heart was warmed by the flattery and the love that escaped through her playful but sleepy eyes. “Yes. “Oh. “Oh. I remember.” he said with a protective air. thinking of her husband’s strong. “Yes.” he responded in the same quiet tone. Hannah took advantage of having some quiet time with her husband. little Abia?” Papa said teasingly. she had very little opportunity to speak to him without the interruption of daily life routines and children. you know you are the most handsome!” she said with a sleepy grin. do you remember last year when Abia started to have unusual dreams?” she asked in a whisper to keep the children from hearing. as if he were a little jealous of the other man’s compliment. I was quite alarmed. wide world…” she stopped as she saw her Papa approach. Papa. “She talked of a man in her dreams who loved to see her dance. but it was all 23 .Prologue “He let go of my hand. Papa. “Is that so. sun-weathered hands or Samuel’s lanky ones. Momma.
the people they passed along the street were healed!” Both father and mother were very confused in the attempt to make sense of their little daughter’s dreams. As they traveled down the street.” Hannah told her husband. When I made inquiries. “When another month passed. But that was not the entire dream. Not like this evening when she cried out in protest because the man had let go of her hand.Danc ing wit h Jesus very innocent. Excitedly she told me again how good the man was to do such kind things for the people. causing her to cry uncontrollably. and as she danced. and whenever she wanted to be near God. “This one made her very upset. but this dream made her inconsolable for quite some time. “In this dream. As they walked down the street together. too. she danced.” Hannah nodded in agreement. she could speak and sing to Him as she danced. He instructed her to dance and twirl with delight every time she thought of God. Abia had another dream and this one was not a happy one like the others had been. She was also talking with little Judith in a language I had never before heard. she could only give me one word at a time with moaning 24 . He healed them. and as they did. she was walking with the man down the street market in Jerusalem. The man said she could be His helper and do good things for people. He told Abia she was greatly treasured by God and was created to dance for Him. they spoke to each other in the strange language. “One afternoon I found her playing outside with Judith.” Hannah recalled. Abia was humming a tune I had never heard before. When I asked her where she had learned it. people were coming up to the man. Whenever she heard Him make a certain sound. It always made Abia quite happy when He was in one of her dreams.” “A few months ago I was giving her a bath one evening when she told me of another dream she had. He healed them of all types of ‘hurts’ she called them. she told me the man in her dreams had taught it to her.
It was tucked under her arm and she tried to dance with it.Prologue tears between each word: ‘playing.” he concluded with a puzzled shake of his head.’ ‘leg. he ended the conversation. she stopped dancing to walk with it instead.” he concluded with a sleepy smile.” Hannah recalled.’” Hannah’s voice quivered with emotion as she remembered her daughter’s pain-filled cries. “Then there was the one with the wicked woman dressed in gold who danced in a palace. The night was too far spent to try to put together the puzzle pieces of Abia’s dreams. Yaron put his arm around his trembling wife for comfort. “One of her dreams had the whole family in it. Maybe they would make sense of them then.” Yaron said with a yawn. God willing. 25 . Morning would come soon enough to begin another day. Reaching for his wife’s warm hand. Abia came out to the courtyard with your broomstick.’ ‘soldier.” he began when Hannah’s body felt at peace.’ and lastly. heavy-eyed. “As I was outside one hot day. ‘healing. “It seems we were in a room filled with other people and on the top of each head was a single glowing flame. “I remembered the story quite well. Finding it too difficult. And then there was another dream that seemed rather silly one about the same man in her dreams dancing with a dead tree.
who in turn becomes the spokesperson for God to His people. and portrays many facets of God’s grace to His people.Introduction Little did her parents know that Abia’s dreams were a foretelling of events yet to come that involved the calling of a new type of worshiper. When a message is sent from His own mouth to a prophet. This young Jewish girl’s prophecy will have a profound impact on her life. He has given us. His people. but the message here is not for her alone. The prophetic messages in the series of dreams she experienced as a young child will be used to teach and to mature her in the faith. This message explains the will of God for His people to worship Him. the awesome privilege to worship Him. it is very revealing. One is given an opportunity to glimpse into the very heart of His heart. but to dance with Him—that is truly sublime! Much can be learned by studying the words and actions of God. The emotions of God can be seen 27 . a prophetic dancer.
and young men would see visions. The prophet Jeremiah testified of a time yet to be as well.Danc ing wit h Jesus through the passionate way in which He speaks to His children. old men would dream dreams. but they can also be literal. Prophecies are figurative at times. and anger all reveal parts of His unfathomable heart of love. matures to its fullest destiny and purpose when the baby is wanted. like a child. guided. That is why satan loves abortion: it kills the potential for God’s destiny and 28 . valued. carried to full term. A prophecy. reflecting deep hidden meanings that can only be obtained by the truly spiritual. delivered. having to wait for the exact moment in the history deemed right by God. Even on the male and female servants. God’s Spirit would be poured out. Even our gift of free will shows how He wants love to be gifted back to Him. He saw a future time when the people of God would be drawn by His loving kindness. God wants to dance with His people! As Abia’s life unfolds. His intense love. joy. her prophetic gift and calling to dance has to find its way through a maze of life’s circumstances that seem to be at odds with the ways of God. Joel gave the word without knowing when it would come to pass. For many people. prophecies are figurative. Israel’s mourning would one day be turned to joy with God’s promises resounding throughout the generations and God’s everlasting love for His people realized. Sons and daughters would prophecy. instructed. hatred. His desires are exposed. Some words are fulfilled quickly while others take time. The prophet Joel proclaimed a day of the Lord that was to come where the Spirit of God would be poured out on all humankind. Just as with all prophetic words. nurtured. Jeremiah understood the longing in the heart of God to one day take His beloved Israel’s hand and dance with her on her rebuilt streets. compassion. fed. and taught in the ways of God. and those who called on the name of the Lord would be delivered.
When a person is in such agreement with the word. we never dance alone. causing it to become dormant for a generation or many generations. We can be reassured that if we are Dancing with Jesus. She is to dance with and for the Lord. gifting. You may have a season of mourning over body issues.” Some would say this is a suggestion. Turning is a dance move. A prophetic word from God has a life span that can cross generations because His word does not come back void. They find their voices to preach. Some find an outreach ministry that it a perfect fit. Administration or helps may be their sweet spot and are used mightily. “Let them praise His name with dancing…. to see the word to its completion.Introduction purpose before they are ever allowed to be birthed. Could it be that you have not yet found your instrument because your instrument is your body and it is to be used to dance before the Lord? Ecclesiastes 3:4 says there is “a time to dance. But he is no match for our God. while others would say it is a command. or teach. they are willing to persevere. Others know immediately the instrument they will play to worship the Lord. despite all odds.” Isn’t it time you danced? Abia has been chosen. or destiny in the Body of Christ. purpose. 29 . but Jesus is patiently waiting. Some people seem to have an easy time of finding their talent. He will make a way when there seems to be no way in sight. He turns our mourning into dancing. One generation can pay little attention to the word. Take away the historical setting and Abia’s story might be yours. This will continue forward until such a time when God chooses someone else to carry on where the last person failed. How about you? Is your destiny still unfulfilled? The writer of Psalm 149:3 says. or missed opportunities to fulfill what God has called you to. lost potential. His people will dance on Jerusalem’s restored streets and undoubtedly at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. and it is powerful to press on until its purpose is accomplished. sing. sin’s destruction.
but 17.C H A P T E R 1 Herod Antipas’ Palace and Akil “I must be dreaming!” Abia exclaimed as she and her siblings stood on the first step of the massive steps that led to King Herod’s spectacular palace. as she peered at the beauty set before her. “It has been 12 years since you had a series of dreams. I am dreaming too!” chimed in Judith. Twenty-five-year-old Samuel rolled his eyes at his younger sister’s comment and said in big brother fashion.” Samuel begged his two sisters as the weight of the responsibility of being the oldest began to fall on his shoulders. Abia. “If you are dreaming. and you must hurry up!” he said to Abia with a scowl they both knew meant nothing. the youngest at 15. 31 . “We must find Akil. You are no longer 5. and please remember everything Papa said to us before we left home.
the delivery plans. They were not to displease this man in any manner and were to leave the specially commissioned hand-sewn items they had worked on so diligently to Akil’s capable care. He had steadily earned her trust from the first days she moved into the palace after becoming Herod Antipas’ new wife. and the man named Akil as they spent hours sewing and discussing and planning today’s event. and from palace slaves and servants who frequented the marketplace with daily updates from the palace.Danc ing wit h Jesus Akil was the head man for all planned social events for King Herod and his queen. Abia’s mind whirled with tidbits of information she had gathered about the palace. from clients who loved to have something to pass on to those who would listen. even if it involved fear or intimidation. In the presence of the palace. had been planning the governor’s birthday festivities for months. As the palace supervisor and head of all functions regarding the royal family of Herod and his wife. This was the man their Papa had warned them about. He had earned superior rank and was highly trained from having been born in the house of Herod. Although he had earned authority. Never in the many years of his service to the royal family had so much effort been made for a birthday. and he used whatever skills were necessary to get the job done. Herodias 32 . Akil was still a slave in the house of Herod. Abia recalled the fascinating story. He was supplied with whatever was necessary to make any occasion grand. Herodias. The collection of information her Papa had received came from friends in the marketplace where he sold his wares. Akil had become quite used to being obeyed. Akil and Queen Herodias. but this one was extremely important. Suddenly the information their Papa had given about this man came rushing to Abia’s remembrance. as she preferred to be called. The heavy burden to have everything completed to perfection was directly transferred from the queen onto Akil’s proficient shoulders.
The story continued with Akil’s dilemma about the new orders given by Queen Herodias to change the color scheme of the 33 . As long as he did his job well. which made him valuable. the great strain and heavy responsibility to meet the ever-increasing demands grew by the hour. From red trimmed with gold to blue and white. The queen seemed obsessed with having everything done to perfection. Abia remembered her Momma giving her own valuable pieces of information that she had gleaned daily from her friends and the women at the marketplace. Just when Akil considered the arrangements entirely complete. they lived. No one knew what compelled her to change her mind so frequently. He was not given the freedom or privilege to appeal to her with reason and logic. She was proud of Papa and the family who meant everything to her.Herod Antipas’ Palace and Akil held great power and could easily have him killed without forethought. causing great turmoil among the women. a new set of instructions would come. believing the queen could not get any more specific and detailed. as if the same time allotment applied. he lived. The complaint from the head seamstress was valid: there was not enough time to try to duplicate the color blue the queen had in mind and have the linens sewn in time for the celebration. Life went well in the palace when Queen Herodias was satisfied. Akil had vast experience with Roman nobility and knew their expensive tastes. this he and the other slaves and servants comprehended very well. the queen left the royal seamstresses with immediate order changes. but not invaluable. but was forced to comply with her every whim. She proudly filled in parts of the story Papa was too humble to tell. However. As long as the slaves given to his charge did their jobs well. Such was the case of her latest changes in the royal table linens.
when complimented on his craft. Akil. from whom they believed all talents and blessing flowed. a slave born in the house of Herod from Egyptian parents. Yaron Ben-David. fabrication of sturdy cushion upholstery. Yaron Ben-David and his family were one of the few able to reproduce the specific color of blue the queen was insistent upon. 34 . nor did they seem to care about the Hebrews’ religion or their God. their one and only God. and his admiration of the man and his family had grown with each item of craftsmanship he had seen through the years. and lovely personalized embroidery. it was agreed by all who saw the handiwork of the BenDavid family that their work was always impeccable. The other marketplace servants and slaves did not understand it either. which could help with the issue of time. Their needlecrafts were well known as pieces of art. In order to appease Herodias and get the job done in a timely fashion. Akil authorized assigning the task to a local Hebrew family. Divinely inspired or not. gave honor and credit to his God.Danc ing wit h Jesus dinner linens. Rumor had it that Yaron BenDavid and his family attributed all success to God. Yaron’s eye for detail and impeccable taste seemed to match Akil’s own. Yaron Ben-David and his family’s reputation was renowned for their creation of incredible handmade fine fabrics with expertise in methods to dye the materials to suit the taste of the richest families of Galilee and surrounding regions. Herod Antipas owned a red robe of their making—one of better-quality than any he had ever seen. knew little of such matters. impressive sails for fishermen’s boats and royal ships alike. It was said of the Yaron Ben-David family that they seemed to possess an almost divine aptitude for anything they put their hands to do. Their talents included creative design and dress making. It was reported to Momma that Akil suddenly remembered a local man whose workmanship he had greatly admired and whose location was convenient.
” Knowing the celebration would begin shortly and their wares were urgently needed. Each sewing project was an act of worship for her and her family. not God’s. it was as if to also say. Samuel.Herod Antipas’ Palace and Akil As Abia gathered her thoughts to the present. stuffed dining cushions for the floor were upholstered in blue and white and would provide each royal guest comfort while eating and during after-dinner entertainment. Whenever a project was completed. The items were indeed beautiful. Indeed. and Judith finished their climb up the palace steps and hurried toward their planned meeting with Akil. As they lifted their eyes Heavenward in a silent prayer. She knew the new owners of these wonderful pieces would not have the same appreciation for them. “May all glory and honor be God’s. white linen napkins would provide each woman with a beautiful memento of the evening and double as container to hold all of the special party trinkets the rich had come to expect from generous hosts. it was their custom to offer a quick prayer to God for the ability and strength. Abia. This party was for King Herod’s glory. As the three Ben-David offspring held in their arms evidence of their workmanship soon to be handed over to Akil. King Herod would receive all the recognition and honor for his generosity in providing his guests with such beauty. The towels were guaranteed to dry the hands of the most prominent of guests without complaint. The soft. It was always bittersweet and emotional for her when it was time for the fabrics to be delivered. 35 . she also tried to gather the linens she was holding to keep them from dropping to the ground. they each exchanged knowing glances. Herod’s royal emblem was painstakingly embroidered on each table covering. some of the people attending this party would be quite upset if they knew Jewish hands had touched the items. She glanced down for the last time at the fabrics her family had handled for weeks. The wide.
head social planner for the royal family. All business agreements and all transactions were made by Yaron.C H A P T E R 2 Yaron Ben-David’s Royal Commission Akil’s visit two weeks prior to the royal banquet came as quite a surprise to the Ben-David family. Yaron dismissed all but Samuel from the room when the booming knock from the door sounded his arrival. Samuel was allowed to stay in the room with Yaron as Akil handpicked the exact fabric and color for each item given to him by Queen Herodias for Herod’s birthday celebration. life was suddenly turned upside down. Yaron seemed as impressed with Akil’s keen eye and high-quality taste as Akil was with the Ben-David’s home stitchery business. It was unusual for Yaron to take such a demanding job. His demand for perfection and insistence upon quality would make this order 37 . When the royal commission had come personally by Akil. especially with such impossible time restrictions.
conveying a silent message of understanding and acceptance. but the quality could not be compromised. Yet. as conveyed by Akil coming to place the order himself. Hannah. One could not afford to make enemies with the royal household. to immediately start on designing a template of the royal crest to these specifications. and assistance. Yaron reasoned. Fulfilling the confident promises Yaron made to Akil would require God’s guidance.” he said as he handed Hannah a piece of parchment containing a drawing of the intricate and complicated crest. Yaron looked to his wife with mixed excitement and concern gleaming from his eyes. As Hannah. very tall. and wearing a colorful orange turban wrapped around a black head. There was enough strife in the region as it was. and Abia listened to the muffled voices from the adjoining bedroom. who were traveling with him. Bowing low. He also said the items would be hand-delivered to the palace kitchen and into Akil’s hands directly. As Akil left their house the females of the family strained to catch a glimpse of him. they followed Akil as he briskly made his way back toward the palace gate. All they could make out was that the man was black. 38 . “I want you. knowing well how curious they would be to hear what business transaction had been made with the house of Herod. they began to pray. this order was not so much a request. Judith. As was his custom. She took it from his hand and tenderly touched his cheek. Yaron and Samuel quickly gathered the three into the kitchen room. Yaron mentally assessed the materials needed for the task and the family member who possessed special aptitude for each assignment. but a demand from the royal palace. quickly turned their attention to him as he approached. strength. Two men. through a yellow muslin curtain.Danc ing wit h Jesus especially difficult. He assured Akil the job would be done in the allotted time and that the quality of the work would not suffer. Time was short.
As his watery eyes scanned his daughter’s form. he beat his chest. and it was soon realized she would not be able to walk very well due to the hip injury. tears of gratitude began to fall in earnest as he raised his hands in worship to God. “My poor. Believing her fate was sealed that tragic day to become a spinster doomed to live out the rest of her life with her parents instead of having a family of her own brought great sadness to his heart. his eyes spoke of his heartfelt love for his daughter and his God. It was wonderful for Abia to see tears of joy streaming down his face instead of the tears of sorrow he had shed for the past 12 years. The looks hurt them all. He had felt 39 . which every Hebrew man desired. he said. when she was five years old. No young man would want to marry a young girl who could not give him sons. the Ben-David family had grown quite accustomed to reading the expressions in people’s eyes when they looked at Abia wherever she went. but especially Abia. they always showed a mixture of sorrow and compassion for his daughter. Worse still was the news that she would be unable to bear children when marrying age came. But. Yaron’s emotions always shined brightly in his eyes. “I praise my God for you. “Abia. As a man in a man’s world. my heart…” He brought his fist to rest on his heart and with his voice too full of emotion to finish his sentence. Until now.” Yaron would say again and again as he shook his head from side to side with regret. and I praise Him for the many blessings He has bestowed on this family throughout the years. but before he could speak. Yaron knew what that would mean for her. fully able to walk. Abia had witnessed the pitying looks in her family’s eyes ever since the day of the accident. my Abia!” with small tears blurring his vision.Yaron Ben-David’s Royal Commission Yaron turned his gaze toward Abia to give the sewing assignment he had for her. beautiful daughter. when I see you standing without crutches. After the accident that left Abia lame. and with his voice filled with emotion.
Jewish parents believed their daughters should be pledged to be married or already married at an early age. especially if they produced sons. They did not want their daughter to miss out on receiving the love of a husband. pressing flax seed into soft material. Her parents taught her all they knew about sewing. Abia. and many other elements of the highly skilled art of sewing and fabric-making. Abia! Be brave. Hopefully they would have one or two children by the age of 17. Abia’s mind was sharp and seemed to grow with each new challenge. To avoid pain. becoming a wife. most days Abia stayed inside their home. 40 . which allowed Hannah more time to manage home duties. as if she were to blame for her troubles. which Abia now was.Danc ing wit h Jesus sorry for her because he wanted for her what most fathers desire for their daughters at the age of 17. It was something she could do easily without causing pain in her hip. “Amitz. he wanted her married. they whispered the phrase of encouragement to her each time older women in the marketplace passed her by with eyes full of reproach. designing. Despite her brave front and happy appearance. Yaron and Hannah saw the emotional pain in Abia’s eyes grow as the consequences of the accident became more fully understood over time. weaving. Yaron and Hannah considered motherhood to be one of the greatest honors God bestowed on women. both physically and emotionally. It was a relief to Hannah when Abia could assume some of her responsibilities of helping Yaron and Samuel with the sewing. Learning the trade came without difficulty. and motherhood. Abia learned early on how to sew. Even in her early teen years. her parents depended more and more on her talents and skills.” they would say to her in Hebrew when young girls would point at her or young boys would look at her with repulsion because of her limp. As the business grew. they knew her pain and watched helplessly.
How wonderful to be able to truly celebrate Judith’s pending marriage with a joyful heart instead of the fake smile Abia showed that fooled no one. And on the day when Judith and Abraham would make her an aunt. would move Heaven and Earth if it were within his power to do so for her. It saddened Hannah’s heart to think that her beautiful Abia would never need the skills she could teach her. “I need you. the baker’s son. Hannah was practical enough to know that. As Abia scanned the kitchen room and met the faces of the people she loved best in the world. she thought to herself. “Make the colors vibrant and colorful. her heart filled with joy once more. Abia. she could now literally jump for joy. to choose the correct thread strength and thickness. Her brother. she realized how truly blessed she had been. who was already pledged to be married to Abraham. Samuel.” Yaron instructed loudly. bringing everyone back to the matters at hand as he swiftly wiped the last of his tears into his sleeve. Yaron quickly shared with Abia and 41 . fully confident in her abilities and smiling with joy that overflowed from his heart. How wonderful to have a family to share love and pain with. Judith. it also afforded her more time to teach Judith the skills she would one day need when she would become some young man’s wife. Make it unlike any other!” he said. Since she had regained the usage of her hips. They would be married soon after her 16th birthday. she had to teach the skills to Judith.Yaron Ben-David’s Royal Commission Although it was difficult to admit. Her life had been full and happy despite the unfortunate circumstances that left her lame for so many years. Center the crest and design a trim that will frame and enhance it. Abia had parents who loved her and never left her side. loved her so much that she even hid her own excitement about her upcoming wedding out of fear that it would hurt Abia’s feelings. Her dear sister. Abia’s smile seemed to bring him a measure of reassurance and the support he needed. although it left her older daughter out.
and she would also miss the family comradery. 42 . but softened as his youngest child of 15 approached him for her individual instructions. Mora loved people. As the wife of the baker’s son.” he said good-heartedly. including the number of table covers that would be needed. and Judith already adored him. brightest white linen table covers.” his voice was still somber. was joyful and funny. Judith thought that maybe having grandchildren to kiss would keep her lips too busy to indulge in chin wagging. Abraham’s father. but would take her place with her beloved Abraham and his household. “I am placing you in charge of the napkins and towels. Mora had a kind heart. the precise position of the crest for each. and the table size. “You will embroider an elaborate ‘H’ on the corner of each one. His positive outlook on life brought just the right balance to his wife’s colorful. With a smile on her face. It hurt her to know she would no longer be a part of the work her family did. She delighted in sharing any bit of information she had with the willing and unwilling alike.” Papa spoke to them all. If not. which she was learning to love as she worked diligently beside Abraham and her new family. “The royal crest will be sewn to our highest quality. She realized this was to be her last sewing job with her family. Judith would no longer take her place among the Ben-David household. she would make a wonderful grandmother for Abraham and Judith’s children.Danc ing wit h Jesus Hannah the rest of the directions and details. Adam Ben-Daniels. but flighty personality. she knew Abraham would be more than willing to escape his mother’s roof and come for frequent and more peaceful visits at her parents’ home.” Judith nodded her agreement as small pools of tears began to form in her dark brown eyes. “Judith. she would learn new work in baking. It was a bittersweet time for him as he remembered this was probably the last time they would all be working together as family. but she was a gossip. and when the time came.
Throbbing fingers. they bowed their heads as Yaron petitioned God for help and favor. Allowing only short. giving a continual report and reminder of the time that was quickly slipping away. aching backs. and near exhaustion plagued the whole family. no one paid but brief visits to their beds. they pressed on. creating a pattern of stripes. especially Jews. He was eager to get the project started. For indeed. rich voices sang songs of gratitude for the work. and he looked forward to the challenge in front of him. Yaron and Samuel would start to sing.Yaron Ben-David’s Royal Commission Samuel had been in the meeting with Akil and Yaron and knew the guidelines for the overly stuffed floor cushions that the patrons would sit upon while they ate. This rare treat was exciting. periodic breaks to grab a quick bite to eat or stretch sore bodies from the strain of sitting in one position for long periods of time. to accomplish such a feat. he was eager to get started with the monumental project. Determined to do his very best. God’s help was required. and most of all. They were to be upholstered with heavy wool dyed blue and white pieces sewn together. oil lamps were lit throughout the room. Just when fatigue would begin to crash down upon them like violent waves hitting the rocky shore. This would be his assignment. Finding the right color of dyes to match the customer’s need was his specialty. thanksgiving 43 . especially knowing he would participate in the delivery of the wares to Herod’s palace when they were completed. friendly glow to continue the sewing. When the sun rested from its long day. and he knew the opportunity to visit behind the king’s palace was not afforded to many. For the next two weeks. The sun poured in through the windows and then darkened them when nighttime advanced. for the ability and talents to accomplish the work. Once the overall instructions were given to each member of the family. giving it a bright. He was proud of his family and the workmanship of their hands. Their deep.
Hannah and Yaron were wonderful storytellers. Yaron would chime in with a correction to Hannah’s story when he believed she was exaggerating or when he thought she was telling too many private details of the story. they did everything together because their work allowed them the opportunity. laughed. while they were hired by a man for the job they could do. youthful antics. and everyone loved listening as the stories and characters came alive with their words pictures After the Torah. they worked as a family. ultimately they were doing the job as if they were doing it for God Himself. they pressed onward to complete the task. At times it did not seem like work at all. and often time was spent telling and listening to Jewish history and oral accounts passed from one generation to the next. cried. They were determined to accomplish the ambitious assignment and to complete it in the allotted time promised to Akil. It was how they spent their lives. On occasion. They ate. and together they would harmonize flawlessly from the many years of practice while working alongside each other. played. As a family. Singing certainly helped break the monotony of sewing one stitch followed by another. Stories of young Yaron and Hannah when first married were the most endearing to the two. and it was all they had ever known. It also helped them to remember that. Using meticulous skill and care. 44 . Soon. and sewed together. the women would join their voices to the male ones. Hannah usually told the stories aloud while Yaron shook his head in embarrassment of his impetuous. The Ben-Davids worked as a team. Abia’s and Judith’s next favorite stories were when their parents shared with the family tales of times long ago.Danc ing wit h Jesus to their God and Creator of all. The Torah was taught in such a manner. Worshiping God was as natural and normal a part of their daily lives as their need to eat or sleep.
Hannah recalled. He did odd jobs as often as he could. raging storm fueled by the heated winds of eastern Egypt overturned Yaron’s boat one dark day. She grew in reputation as a fine seamstress. leaving him to swim to shore. A sudden. The sun’s reflection bounced from something very small just a short distance from where he sat. especially when the other men in the village made fun of him. He instinctively crossed the distance in search of the tiny object on the beach. As he sat on a rock at the water’s edge praying. Her husband had been a fisherman. they would not allow him to work with them in theirs. Yaron and Hannah had learned the art of sewing through necessity. and when Samuel was born. like his father before him. He often expressed his displeasure to Hannah. Some of the superstitious fishermen thought Yaron was a carrier of bad luck. who fished the unpredictable seas off the coast of Galilee. Nothing was saved but his life. As hard as he tried. They reasoned that because he had the misfortune of sinking his own boat.Yaron Ben-David’s Royal Commission One day Hannah began to recount a story from when she and Yaron were quite young and first married. out of the corner of his eye he saw a sudden flash of something shiny. not the wife. A series of setbacks when they were first married caused Yaron to change occupations. Hannah took in sewing jobs from other women. his prayers completely forgotten. often in exchange for food. Since Yaron had no money and had no way to purchase another boat.” they would say. Yaron was not at all happy with this because he believed the man should be the one to support his family. Some fishermen with large families simply had no room for any additional helpers. “Yarn Ben-David. Yaron could barely keep food in their stomachs. it became more and more difficult. he finally decided it was time to pray for help. He was humiliated and became desperate. making sport of his first name. Yaron. Yaron seemed unable to find work fishing. 45 . but they were few and far between.
he saw the small object he had been looking for painfully imbedded in his palm. Looking at his hand in disgust. he paused to investigate. how did he think he could find something little on a beach covered with sand? In defeat. Extending both hands slightly behind him to break his fall. After about 15 minutes. his right hand immediately began to hurt. Long ago the prophet Moses was being instructed by God before he faced the pharaoh. he had convinced himself that he was a failure. The Lord spoke a reminder to Moses saying. If he could not retrieve something as big as his boat from the bottom of the sea. calloused from years of hard work. 46 . he fell back into the hard sand. was a needle. He would take the needle from his hand. and as he did. he was ready to give up. he jumped to his feet and spun round and round with his hands extended in praise as his mind began to clear. Buried into his leathery hand. Moses was not confident in himself or what to do next.” he said sarcastically. he began to search for the article in the hot sand. “Wonderful. and now a sewing needle is a pain in my hand!” Suddenly. “What is that in thine hand?” “Yaron Ben-David!” he shouted to himself. As his knees met the beach that day. Moses had been given a new rod or staff of authority by God. he sat down. His self-pity suddenly interrupted.Danc ing wit h Jesus Feeling discouraged and with little else to do to occupy his time. It was a sewing needle like the one used to mend tattered fishing nets and repair sails for small boats. he remembered part of a story from the Torah. “What is that in thine hand?” Suddenly he knew what he was to do with his life. swallow his pride. and do the very thing every fisherman all around the world already knew how to do: he would sew. “my wife’s sewing has been a pain to my pride.
but gradually he and Hannah joined forces and developed their skills together. God was in charge of the family business. they did as they had always done. At first he sewed only those things having to do with the fishing trade. He learned he was very skilled at the art of sewing. They each agreed that working together as a family was a blessing for them all. only this time they were sewing for the governor of Galilee’s birthday party. sails for large ships. making prayer shawls. The business that might be generated from having such a rich client who others wanted to emulate might cause their business to prosper like never before. as they were seated together with a small fire lit for warmth from the sudden coolness of the air. They sewed. and also designing the latest fashions for rich men and women alike. this would never have been possible if Yaron had not looked at what was in his hand! 47 . it became apparent the extra pairs of hands of their children were needed. And to think. it was because of His help. So as soon as possible they taught each of their children different skills that matched their individual strengths and aptitudes. The Ben-David wares would be on display for all of the richest people in the region to see. Window screens. creating new fabrics. spinning. but as the business expanded. They slowly expanded their sewing business to include awningmaking. his skills grew with each new job he acquired. which allowed breezes in and kept insects out. covering stuffed cushions with upholstery. and his work became known throughout the village. were a specialty. That night. A modest living was made. and if it grew. inventing new dyes and dyeing techniques.Yaron Ben-David’s Royal Commission Little by little.
49 . therefore. but it was with mixed feelings that Yaron accepted the work. Whatever monetary favor was received from the work would be welcomed and much needed. but each with the same negative conclusion The taxes could be removed prior to payment. To offend any of the Herod family could prove fatal for him or any member of the Ben-David family. very little or no money at all would find its way to Yaron’s pocket. The palace might reason that. having been granted the distinct honor and privilege. from the palace of Herod. but it was not certain any money would be paid at all. Bring Us Peace It was a great tribute in many respects to be given the royal commission for their sewing wares by Akil. none would be given. Yaron’s opinions turned from sarcastic to fearful as he considered the outcome if he dared to refuse. As he sewed. the Ben-David family would be insulted by an offer of payment.C H A P T E R 3 Sunrise. consequently. It was also within the realm of possibility that the royal palace might consider their hard work and craftsmanship to be a contribution to the governor’s birthday celebration. Yaron considered many possibilities.
which was extorted 50 . Herod Antipas. He needed the Jews for their strong backs and refined skills to promote himself among the most elite. King Herod believed he could be worshiped as their Jewish god. and other skilled laborers for his ambitious building project. Herod Antipater. Trouble was beginning to brew on every cobblestone street of Jerusalem. palaces. was in many ways no match for his father. This required unquestioning respect and devotion necessary from his Jewish subjects. no matter the cost. He developed an intricate city water system for Jerusalem and owned a monopoly over the asphalt removed from the Dead Sea for use in shipbuilding projects which employed many others. Seeing himself as both the Jews’ political ruler and their spiritual ruler as well. Antipater’s ambition to build. he desired to impress Rome with the unprecedented growth and construction of cities. Yet. fortresses. Although he was not fully Jewish.” Yaron reasoned. but by doing so. was not for pleasing the Jews. or as he had preferred to be called. He employed thousands of Jewish men as masons. The Roman Empire had taken over the country of Judea many years ago. however. He restored and rebuilt the great Temple in Jerusalem to its former splendor as under Solomon. This brought King Herod tremendous political and governmental influence and power. and his kingdom grew in unparalleled ways. Marc Anthony in Rome appointed Herod Antipater as king of the Jews. little could be done to rectify the mistreatment. “Such is the way it is for Jews everywhere. devious. self-satisfying ruler. and countless other huge building projects. He frantically set out to satisfy his own quest for fame. carpenters. King Herod set out to gain the Jews’ favor. a crafty. Herod the Great.Danc ing wit h Jesus As unreasonable as the dealings were. This growth required enormous manpower with unrestrained and continuous financial provision. he made many attempts to give the illusion of being Jewish. the unwarranted abusive treatment of the Jewish people by the Herod family was not unique in their lifetime.
Herod became infuriated when his wife and her mother’s cries of grief could be heard throughout the palace halls. and over 2. Herod Antipater became obsessively more anxious. resulting in more outlandish edifices. The profits from the trade and extensive taxes made Herod and Rome wealthy. After killing his wife’s brother and his own two sons. high-ranking ruler. Plagued with severe itching. and King Herod was an ever-increasing. Extreme suspicion and jealousy of all alleged friends. Upon getting the news. and his blatant disregard for Jewish customs. roadways. sexual madness. his mental condition was twisted and tortured. Afterward. 51 . Bring Us Peace from the Jewish people. they rebelled with rioting in the streets. Rome sent troops to brutally put down the revolt. His enemies increased in number. He allowed nothing or no one to get in his way. and foes caused the king to execute cruel methods to maintain control and power over his kingdom. their thoughts. Despite his attempts to deceive the Jews. his schemes were quickly exposed. When King Herod put a huge Roman eagle at the main entrance of the Temple in Jerusalem at Pentecost and required the Jewish people to worship it. his jealous rage became violent and unstoppable. A heavy tax burden was made mandatory by King Herod and collected by Roman soldiers. When his wife finally stopped sharing his bed. He soon had her and her mother executed. and countless construction efforts. The kingdom was increasing in riches. traditions. family. and his distrust of other people. chronic kidney disease with gangrene. believing they were haunting him in the night with strategies of murder. and laws was made evident each day. he was known to wildly run about his bedroom.000 Jews were murdered by sword or crucifixion. ulcers. Social unrest was rampant. Manipulation and greed were powerful tools in the hands of King Herod. feet tumors. and their motives increased to the point of mental illness and madness.Sunrise. and worms. Resentment and hatred for the king was widespread.
Herod had ten wives over time who provided him with many children. the elder Herod died. now it seemed to be Rome’s turn. mothers. Although not cruel or violent like his father before him. and divided the land among them. His story continued as the family listened. Such is the way of our people. Herod Antipas became Galilee’s tetrarch and tried to avoid offending his Jewish subjects for a long while. Many of them were executed or exiled from his kingdom. his namesake. altogether King Herod had made five different wills. grandparents. so he executed Antipater and named Herod Antipas his successor. he wanted his part of the kingdom to grow and for Rome to be impressed with his management of the region. or governors. He named the three sons as tetrarchs. When Herod was old and sickness had taken its revenge on this wicked and cruel king. Jews had been persecuted by others in their own land repeatedly. rather than kings. But Herod uncovered a plot by Antipater to kill his own father. Antipas harbored hopes of being made king. so the decision to divide the kingdom fell to the Roman Emperor Augustus. A few days later. fearing them to be like their father. 52 . Not trusting the sons of Herod.Danc ing wit h Jesus Despite the cruel methods he exercised over the Jewish people.” Yaron explained the next evening while they were sewing. Therefore. His first son. He saw everyone as a threat to him or to his kingdom. he called his son back to his side in order to bequeath to him the entire kingdom. Antipater. and his mother were banished when the child was quite young. “It is difficult to understand the foreign occupation in our land when our fathers were promised this land by God centuries ago. Augustus finally honored Herod’s last will. However. Many fathers. Herod’s fears continued to increase. and siblings continued to grieve for the children who had been slain by the hands of King Herod when he sought to kill the baby boy who was said to be King of the Jews in Jerusalem.
Rome thought it tedious to continue assisting Antipas with potential trouble stemming from the Jews.Sunrise. John was thought of by many Jews to be very much like the prophet Elijah. One could not step into Jerusalem without sensing the growing tension. It did not take long for the whole region of Galilee to be in constant fear of the Roman soldiers. who prophesied of a forerunner to announce the long-awaited Messiah.” Yaron said. To keep the Jewish people from growing in power and influence. Bring Us Peace Many of the Jewish people and leaders were growing angrier with the constant disregard of the Jewish people. Antipas’ own father had done many atrocities to the Jewish people for generations. John the Baptist. The soldiers were regularly looking for the slightest movements among the Jews indicating antiRoman sentiment. and their customs. their Law. From the barren region of the rugged hills and valleys of Judea. as people were calling him. And just like his father. causing distrust and hatred. Their presence was seen in the marketplace. in small townships. “The Roman army has caused much suffering among our people. the soldiers manned positions all over the region. This caused the soldiers to get involved in Jewish internal disagreements and to intervene when quarrels got out of hand. and near the local synagogues. 53 . The family enjoyed learning about their history. had an ability to disturb people—faithful Jews and fallen Jews alike. and they used cruel methods to silence them. Herod Antipas seemed to fear some Jewish men whose growing popularity caused him great concern over possible uprising and civil disobedience. so he continued his narrative as they sewed on into the wee hours of the morning. along fishing villages. One man who was growing in recognition and fame was a man named John. More alarming and hurtful than the Roman home rule was how fellow Jews were pitted against one another. and they sent Roman soldiers to police the area to prevent all disorderly conduct. Antipas’ suspicions were on the rise.
Their family was devout and they trusted in the God of Abraham. This anointed King. and the world. whom John criticized for being legalistic and hypocritical. He made enemies from both sides. but ignored its true intent. The Pharisees. While many people were unsettled. its people. everyone became lost in their own thoughts. The turbulent times in which they lived made peace a valuable commodity. The Messiah would liberate their country. every Jew could agree on one thing. but it was constantly sought. there was a renewed hope and desperation for the following sunrise to be the promised day of peace and the coming Messiah. and Jacob. John criticized the Sadducees for using religion to promote their political position. Isaac. They believed God’s promises given throughout the centuries. would lead the Jews and would establish justice in the world. That word had not been one the Ben-David family or the Jewish people had really ever known. As night fell each evening. and in that day. Peace. followed the letter of the Law. people from all viewpoints became riled. Day and night they were taught of a special day to come when God would send a righteous King to reunite God with His people. and He would bring blessed peace. for he had given them much to think about. Within the safety of the kitchen room it was difficult to fathom the depths of unrest that lay so close to their own door. The synagogues were exploding with a renewed interest in ancient prophets and their prophecies. peace would again come. Peace was never anything one should take for granted. 54 . As Yaron’s story concluded. The family had seen the Roman guards quite often in the last few months parading in public to prevent heated religious debates from resulting in scuffles. When John proclaimed a local man named Jesus as the Messiah. they were taught.Danc ing wit h Jesus The two most prominent religious groups in Israel that John spoke out against were the Pharisees and Sadducees.
55 . and before they knew it. It was not until the Ben-David family gathered together to do the sewing for the event that they had the opportunity to talk about the significant events that were happening almost daily around them. In the months prior to the royal commissioning for Herod’s birthday celebration. much was happening in Galilee.C H A P T E R 4 John. one day would slide into another and weeks would go by—leaving them to scratch their heads and wonder where the time went. Time simply does not permit it. the Wilderness Crier As with most busy families. Sewing for Herod’s party afforded the Ben-David family time to get caught up on the events of the past few months. the events of the day are not always shared with other members of the family in detail as much as one would desire. Daily chores and routines consume the day.
he was different from any priest the people had ever known. had come home from the market street to tell Hannah of news he had heard on the streets. in the attempt to produce just the right combination of colors needed for Akil’s order. lime. Many different ingredients—flower heads. berries. Such was the case with the next story. but they did not seem to mind hearing some stories over and over again. As Yaron stirred. wood ash. The right color was being sought.Danc ing wit h Jesus Sample pieces of fabric were soaking in dye kettles containing different ingredients. as was his daily routine. Judith. the man named John. Clothed in a tunic made of camel hair tied with a leather belt. a few months earlier. henna. As he related the facts and the opinions he had heard from the men in the marketplace. The whole city was buzzing with tales of the peculiar man known by the name John. “He was a rather strange man. Hannah also shared the stories she’d heard from the women who sold wares in the shops where she did her daily shopping. Together they retold for Samuel. Yaron. the stories were hardly ever ones they heard more than once. he had eager listeners to any story he wanted to tell. roots. So much was happening around them. and it was necessary to create a set of color batches in order to make the right choice. Samuel and Yaron continuously stirred the pots with wooden paddles.” Yaron remarked quite candidly to his wife. bark from trees. and when multitudes of people gathered to hear 56 . It was said that John had lived in the barren wilderness area of Judea and was sustained by eating honey and locusts. and Abia the rather incredible story of the stranger named John. and many others in combination—could produce different shades of a variety of colors. He had made plans to gather with many men by the waters of the Jordan River to listen to the bizarre man who spoke straight to the hearts of Jewish people. His preaching was powerful.
Gabriel. Others believed him to be the messenger prophesied by Malachi whom God would send to clear the way for the Messiah. Yaron seemed to agree that John was the son of the elderly priest Zachariah and his wife. Yaron first remembered hearing about him when Zachariah was an old priest who served God faithfully in the Temple for many years. others thought it ridiculous because no one that strange could be anyone other than a foreigner. the elderly priest. They would be granted a son. they formed varied opinions of him. and he was to name his son John. Some agreed that he was the prophet Elijah. appeared to Zachariah. He would have the style and 57 . He and Hannah had told many stories throughout the years to their children about the remarkably faithful couple and their miraculous son. John would be used by God to turn the hearts of many sons and daughters of Israel back to the Lord their God. an angel of the Lord. that he was not to drink wine or liquor.John. He and his wife. Zachariah had been the high priest of the Jewish people some 30 years earlier. they stayed true to the belief that God would one day hear their prayers and give them a son. and that he would be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. were not able to have children. They believed he was Elijah because he stood up against evil rulers when he preached. Many thought he was the incarnate prophet Elijah who had been taken up by God and was never buried. When some said he was the son of Zachariah. Many others thought he was the man prophesied by the prophet Isaiah seven centuries before as the forerunner of the Messiah. Elizabeth. The Lord said John would be great in the sight of the Lord. When Zachariah entered the Temple to perform his priestly duty to burn incense. Elizabeth. Despite the advice of others. the Wilderness Crier him. Not all judgments being formed were based merely on what he wore. He told him that the Lord had heard their petition. Zachariah did not divorce Elizabeth. but for a different reason.
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strength of the prophet Elijah. He would preach about how the old sinful life would be washed away after people repented of their sins. Repentance for the remission of sins and baptism to wash away the old sinful life were to be his life’s message and mission. Zachariah wondered about how this miracle baby was to be conceived because the couple was so old, so the angel of the Lord caused him not to speak until the baby was born. Zechariah then followed God’s instructions to name the baby John instead of naming him after himself or giving him another family name. Zachariah’s inability to speak caused everyone to believe that the old priest had indeed seen an angel of the Lord and had been told to call his son John. When Zachariah finally began to talk again, his first words were praises to God. Having been filled by the Holy Spirit, he began to prophesy the coming of a Savior who would redeem His people. He foretold how his son, John, would prepare the way for the Messiah. Yaron did not know much more of Zachariah’s story until his own life was touched by the same cruel hand of fate two years after John’s birth. A child born six months after John was known as the true King of the Jews. King Herod, who believed he was king of the Jews, was very threatened by this child. He ordered his soldiers to search the countryside for the two-year-old boy who had been born with the title he considered his. Herod did not want to meet the child; he wanted the child murdered. When the soldiers could not find the child, he ordered all children under the age of five to be massacred. Zachariah, like all fathers at the time, was afraid for his son John’s life. Yaron was 17 years old when Jonah, his youngest brother, and many more male children were killed as a result of Herod’s wickedness.
John, the Wilderness Crier
“Sadness has been a heavy covering of grief worn by everyone who mourned the loss of a child, grandchild, or little brother since that horrible day,” Yaron’s voice shook with his shoulders as sorrow overtook him once again. Momma stood up from her chair to lay her head upon her husband’s bowed one. Her eyes were red from tears that attempted, time and time again, to wash away the heartbreak experienced by the loss of her own playmates and cousins who were killed that day. “Children,” Momma’s voice barely above a whisper continued, “your own Papa was an eyewitness to the slaughter. He was covered with his brother’s blood. The soldiers forced your Papa to place in your father’s arms the dead body of his little brother as punishment for trying to protect his own child and for not revealing the whereabouts of the new Jewish Messiah.” Yaron’s children gathered around their father and wept bitter tears. “My children and dear wife,” Yaron began slowly when his tears were spent. “I have such love and appreciation for my family who is drawn around me now. You bring such abundant joy to this man’s broken heart. We live in desperate and evil times, yet we cannot forget the pain of God our Father who has been separated from His children by sin as my own father has known. God has promised the Messiah would come and save His people. It has been spoken by prophets of long ago that Jehovah would send a messenger one day who would point the way to the coming Messiah. For many years Jews have been faithfully watching and waiting. Many have gone to their graves and yet He has not come. “In my lifetime I have seen death, yes. Yet, I am also seeing signs of life, new life,” he remarked with new vigor in his voice. “An unexpected sound coming from a desert man is kindling a flame of hope in the hearts of many along Jordan’s shores. The one they call John is awakening God’s people like none I have seen in my years on this earth. Could it be God the Father can no longer stand the separation from His children and at long last has
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sent the messenger we have longed for?” As Yaron finished this part of the story, everyone’s belief in God’s faithfulness and love was once again renewed. Yaron stopped stirring the fabric and pulled the dyed fabrics out from their dye kettles. He methodically hung them to dry outside the courtyard on clotheslines, making sure to remember from which kettle the individual sample cloths came in case the perfect color was achieved. He was glad for the break in the story because the retelling of the tragedy always left him feeling saddened for the brother he never knew. With his emotions back in place, he entered the kitchen room to gather together more ingredient for the dyes. As he did, he continued telling the story. Yaron’s story left off after telling about how John, as a young male child, was in danger like the others at the time. The young John had escaped the fate of so many others. But, Yaron remarked, the prophecy of Zachariah’s son had not been fulfilled. Now, at the age of 30, John’s story continued as he began his ministry in the countryside after spending most of his life in the region’s wilderness. People were curious about John and his message, including Yaron and Samuel, who later joined some of the men to hear for themselves what message was being proclaimed on Jordan’s shores. The merely curious, the scholars, the religious, the skeptics, and the expectant came from far and near to hear more from this unusual man. John’s message was simple. He told the people—and by this he meant all the Jewish people—that they were living sinfully. God had tolerated it, but He would not be doing so much longer. A great and terrible day of judgment was to occur. Many believed him and wanted to know what they could do to be saved from the coming judgment day. Two things he said they could do. First, “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand,” John said, and second, “Be baptized.”
John, the Wilderness Crier
The most highly religious among the Jewish people were shocked and took offense when he said that being descendants of Abraham was not good enough for God. John challenged them by saying that changes could not be made on the outside alone, but needed to be made from the inside. Confession of sin and a changed life always go together, he said. The crowds questioned John about this. They wanted to know what they should do. John told the man who had two tunics that a changed life would cause him to share one with a man who had none. Likewise, a man who had food should do the same for one who was without. He advised some tax collectors who had come to be baptized to collect no more than what they had been ordered to collect. He told some soldiers not to take money from anyone by force or to accuse anyone falsely, but to be content with their wages. The common people were astounded at his teachings. Numerous people proclaimed John to be the long-awaited Messiah, but he denied it. He only claimed to be a witness of the coming Christ and the one who would point the way to the Messiah when He came. John said his mission was to baptize with water, but the One coming would baptize by the Holy Spirit and with fire. When John, the Baptizer, began to speak of reestablishing people’s true relationship with God, some were overjoyed. The truly faithful were jubilant because the strain of trying to keep the Law was overwhelming and condemning. Yaron shared with his wife about John’s message. The two of them were among the first who went to be baptized by John in the Jordan River. They knew the sinful condition of their hearts, but they had not known a way to be clean, until now. At long last, humankind had a way back to God. God had made a way. The peace and love on their faces and the excitement from their testimonies were so obvious; their whole household went back to the Jordan River in the following days to learn and to be baptized.
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As Yaron’s story ended, it invoked much conversation among the family as each one remembered his or her own experience with being baptized by John at the river’s edge. They each took turns reminiscing about the special occasion.
Every remembrance of them brought back the experience as if it had just happened. but they felt they could tell these stories again and again and never grow tired of the telling. The events of Abia’s story occurred before she regained the use of her legs. The stories were a wonderful distraction from the hard work facing them. design. but also the rest of their family. they were stories that had changed their lives. The message told by John had impacted her parents. It had been two months. They too went to the banks of the Jordan and were also baptized.C H A P T E R 5 A Lighter Load to Carry The family laboriously continued to sew. but it was miraculous just the same. Abia was transported by a mule-drawn cart to the Jordan River. Samuel. but more than that. but on the day when the rest of her family was baptized as well. Her parents and 63 . and put together the pieces ordered by Akil for Herod’s birthday celebration. The cart was led by her brother. Abia’s story picked up after her parents’ baptism.
Judith ran out from under the cart ahead of Abia. they ignored the wisdom of their older brother. At 17 years of age. she learned that he had decided not to marry the baker’s daughter. trapping the frightened Abia beneath. some type of commotion occurred. As time marched on. Abia heard laughing and more screams. her memory was also stirred with past events. His strong face had streams of tears running down from his pain-filled eyes.Danc ing wit h Jesus Judith walked beside her as they traveled to the river bank. He took wonderful care of her and tried to assist her while she was recovering. As she looked up. and shouting. the cart tipped over. The distance was much too far for Abia to walk. Her injured hip and limp leg would have caused her great pain if she had tried. she remained thankful for how wonderful her family had been to take care of her for the past 12 long years. As the mule stirred the dirt with each step toward a new future. Samuel had warned the two young girls to come out of their hiding place. He often carried her on his back to go places and then helped her learn how to use a crutch when she was able.and three-year-olds are known to do from time to time. Samuel was consumed with guilt when it was discovered that Abia would be unable to walk without the use of a crutch. She remembered that she and Judith had been playing under a cart that Samuel had been loading to carry supplies to a nearby merchant. Her life had changed in a matter of moments. she saw Samuel. Abia thought he was the greatest brother alive. There was a horse. but so had his. especially Samuel. but as five. 64 . She soon realized that she could not move any longer. The details of the accident were still very sketchy in Abia’s mind. a soldier. He was always there to retrieve things she could not reach. Just at that time. but when Abia tried to follow her. For 12 years Samuel had done everything he could to help Abia.
Samuel had been 13 years old at the time of the accident and was now 25. When John had finished baptizing Samuel. It hurt Abia to think of all the sacrifices he had made because of his love for her. God’s forgiveness permitted him to forgive himself. On the river’s edge. Abraham. Any childish and unfounded blame Abia had for Samuel when she was 5 was fleeting and had long since passed. with water dripping down his face. with whom he was so much in love. because of his sense of duty toward Abia. The dark heaviness of false guilt he had been carrying at long last drifted away with the currents. She was drenched from head to toe. it was Abia’s heartfelt desire that all his guilt and pain would be washed away as well. the sad tears had been replaced with tears of joy and acceptance. with her hair dripping wet. but far surpassing the physical was the beauty she had from within. Her beauty did not go unnoticed by her future husband. At long last. grueling years. but when she thought about him doing it out of a sense of responsibility because of his own guilt. fast-flowing water of the Jordan. sunny day. that bright. Samuel the Dependable was once again true to his nickname. but as she came up from the cool water. She would make a perfect 65 .A Lighter Load to Carry Sarah. they arrived at the river. but his guilt had not. He agreed she was indeed a beauty on the outside. it was too much to bear. As he looked up. Samuel found peace for the first time in 12 long. Many people were already there desiring to be baptized as well. who was watching from the water’s banks. When it was Samuel’s turn to be baptized in the cool. He was amazed at his good fortune to be betrothed to such a wonderful girl. he baptized Judith. she seemed more beautiful than ever. Abia prayed that her brother could at last forgive himself.
and with the new teachings of John. she opened her mouth to sing. was one of the first. just as King David had long ago. causing many people to stir from their grassy seats along the river’s banks to make their own pilgrimage back to the God of their fathers. He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. You have anointed my head with oil. but the melody was her own: The Lord is my shepherd. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life. Abraham looked forward to their life together. Judith’s stirring song of love and worship to God made Abia suddenly self-aware of the condition of her heart. He restores my soul. Your rod and Your staff. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Her beloved. I fear no evil.1 A giant smile crashed through Judith’s tears of joy. Her deep love and gratefulness flowed within her. As the water split around her. for You are with me. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.Danc ing wit h Jesus mate for him. My cup overflows. With her arms extended Heavenward. Judith’s voice was perfection and amazingly pure. they comfort me. He makes me lie down in green pastures. Abraham. He leads me beside quiet waters. Judith began to worship God using the incredible gift He had given her. With Abia’s 66 . They shared a strong belief in God. I shall not want. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. The song she sang was from King David’s own psalms. and she expressed it through song.
when she learned of her future marriage to Abraham and the children they would one day have. Abia watched from the side those who danced at festivals and other celebrations. She even resented her own beloved sister. Shame and guilt relentlessly assaulted her. Abia finally realized she could not make them leave because she had invited them into her heart to stay through her sin of unforgiveness. she could not help but close her eyes and remember. but a life of what? Her heart was filled with hate. Over and over again God had opened the path for the wayward nation of Israel to come back to the fold. she could not make them leave. Tears stung her eyes as Abia finally allowed the deep well of pain to rise up within her. guilt. especially when she saw the sweet innocence of her sister as she came from the water only moments before.A Lighter Load to Carry crutch lying beside her on the rough. the ability to dance. and it was stirred once again every time she saw a soldier or a galloping horse or heard any man except her father and brother laugh. and she held much bitterness toward him. Samuel had blamed himself for the accident. He had made her a cripple who had been ridiculed most of her life. and she secretly resented them for it. woven blanket where she sat and watched. Because Abia was 67 . and no matter how hard she tried. and the ability to live a normal life. Abia was grateful in many ways for her life. shame. she had blamed the Roman soldier. Added to bitterness and resentment toward the soldier was her sin of coveting the experiences of the people around her who could walk without crutches to lean on. She was no better than those from previous generations. Jealously. Bitterness and resentment were constant. They seemed to take for granted the amazing ability to walk without pain. The soldier stole from her the ability to walk. But Abia’s pride. the ability to marry. unwanted companions. and mistaken belief that God owed her for the wrongs done to her by others kept her at arm’s length from Him. Judith. the ability to have children.
Ever so gently.” he said with confidence. Yaron spoke something to Samuel.Danc ing wit h Jesus only a five-year-old and an innocent victim when the incident left her lame. the Wilderness Crier. she saw the truth and desperately wanted to be washed of the filthiness left within her by any deed of darkness. joy. Her heart was lighter than it had ever been before! God had heard the cry of her repentant heart that longed to be joined back with its Maker. he leaned Abia backward until the cool cleansing water covered her whole body. “I baptize you with water. Worse still. God had done what no person could do. 68 . How can I enjoy life and all the blessings of this life and not accept the trouble found in this life? Abia asked herself. As Yaron and Samuel lifted Abia from the water’s edge. He will baptize you with holy fire. how can I be angry with God when it was a man who sinned against me? Opening her eyes. John nevertheless. Yaron and Samuel climbed the muddy bank toward Abia and brought her to John. Sin always separates—not God from His people. in preparation of the One coming. Abia felt as if she could fly. John instructed them to seat Abia in the shallow running flow of water close to the shore. After so many of her vain attempts to lick her wounds and rinse away her own sin-stained heart by valiant efforts and brave smiles. As she held his water-drenched arm and camelhaired sleeve. He had cleansed what was inside the heart. for His love is too great for that—but His people from a holy God. Abia had believed a lie. stopped to speak to Yaron. and hope began to reverberate within Abia as never before. who dropped his head in humility. Freedom. Despite a growing crowd of people urgently wanting to be baptized by John. she later reckoned God owed her for the wrongs done to her by the soldier.
believing they deserved to be worshiped and reverenced. having been fashioned from the soil of the earth by the hands of God and given life by His own mouth. People were created in the likeness of God and in the image of God. Those who felt they surpassed others in obeying the Law made themselves into graven images. no longer needed to wait for Him. but were themselves not God.C H A P T E R 6 A Path Made Straight The Ben-Davids’ family studies of the Torah had taught them that. The Law had been given as a way to show quite the opposite: a Savior was urgently needed. However. 69 . Sin stained the cup of this vessel and made the soil of the earth dirty. humankind was created as an earthly vessel made in God’s likeness and image. This baptism united Jews as a nation to once again turn from the belief that following Moses’ Law meant they no longer needed the Messiah. the Law soon became a graven image in the hearts of people. John’s wilderness cry pointed the way back to God. the Maker of the earthen vessel. just as Moses’ message did centuries before.
in essence. He taught that the new Kingdom of God was very near. Yet. people. Those with repentant hearts. the Law was impossible to follow.Danc ing wit h Jesus By adding to the Law. As the night fell and the stories ended in favor of some much needed sleep. were a remnant who desired to obey the Law as a form of worship to God. Could it be this was a new beginning for the Jewish people? It certainly looked as though this was the first step toward restoration between humankind and God. the Ben-David family. It exhausted the strongest of people and defeated the wisest among them. John’s passionate message gave the Jews hope. causing them to cry out for God to save them from the Law. They understood there was no other God greater than Yahweh. who had faith in the God of their fathers. It humbled the most prideful and filled the humble with hopelessness. were eliminating others from becoming what they themselves desired: to be gods. John told the Jews that when the Messiah came He would teach them how to live and that all flesh would see the salvation of God. No one ever imagined how very near He actually was. John was adamant with this message. wondered if they would be the generation chosen to see the coming Messiah. His message included turning the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous and preparing the people for the Lord. They now realized that John was the messenger spoken of by the prophet Malachi—the one who would bring fellow Jews back to the Lord their God. 70 . He was called to baptize Jews to make them ritually and spiritually clean and ready for the Lord. least of all themselves. like many others around Galilee. But the One who was coming after John would be more powerful and would complete the assignment.
but had not had the opportunity to tell to her family. the family once again set about their work of sewing. until now. She giggled when she divulged her secret desire to see her beloved. It was one she experienced with Abraham. and the bread Hannah took from the oven brought to her family some measure of vitality. Judith decided to take a turn at telling a story to relieve the humdrum of the constant stitching. About midmorning. As the family diligently 71 .C H A P T E R 7 Bread and Gossip The morning came quickly after a very short night to rest their aching backs and fingers from the seemingly endless sewing they had done the day before. The tea was black and hot. Judith thoughtfully made a special embroidered handkerchief for her future mother-in-law. Abraham. and used the gift as an excuse to visit him. When breakfast was over and the cups were washed and put away. hoping the small gesture would bring her pleasure. Judith’s story began right after the Ben-David family was baptized in the Jordan River.
with her long. “She is poor Yaron Ben-David and his wife’s spinster daughter. she continued to tell her story. “Tut. looking up to Heaven.” she said. tasting an opportunity to share morsels of local gossip with the stranger who had come in for a loaf of freshly baked bread. I know her well. Judith did not see the knowing glances exchanged by the rest of her family.” she cooed. Finding 72 .” she exclaimed with a jerk of her head from side to side in a mixture of genuine sorrow and enthusiasm.Danc ing wit h Jesus worked on their sewing assignments for the palace festival. clucked in excitement. “What a beautiful child Abia was. all efforts to talk with Abraham came to an end. yes. Judith’s future mother-in-law’s voice traveled through the opened door.” Mora. She had brown eyes that always sparkled with mischief and a smile that charmed everyone. She had given Mora the gift. With little else to do. He beckoned for her to sit with him on a bench outside the bakery. Coming out of the bakery. dark. but being the loyal sister that she was. “Abia’s younger sister Judith will soon be marrying my handsome son. Abraham. Without looking up. who had known all along of her plans. tut. she needed to know what her future mother-in-law had to say. inviting them both to sit down on the wooden bench that her husband had thoughtfully provided for the customers inside the bakery. “Abia. Judith was accustomed to having her older sister discussed because of her disability. which was received with squeals of joy. making conversation with Abraham almost impossible. the baker’s wife said. where he could get some fresh air away from the heat of the ovens. as if the arrangement gave her liberty to tell what she knew to the stranger.” she began her tale. Judith passed the new customer coming into the bakery and went to meet Abraham. tut. they listened to the dialogue between Mora and the stranger. flowing hair. Abia? Oh. until the accident—it should have never happened. When Judith’s own sister’s name was mentioned. waiting for his disapproval.
People were screaming trying to warn the people who were on down the street of the danger that was coming. for sport! Samuel and his mule jumped from fright. she decided to continue. God help her. Playing under the cart they were. has been consumed with guilt since it was discovered that poor Abia. she-deviled horse came storming down the street. My sweet daughter.” the baker’s wife said. but resentment flowed from her eyes as she remembered how another husband had to be found for Sarah after she had been rejected by Samuel. “Time heals old pain. There they were. The mule’s head lifted. Abia and her little sister. “Oy vey! A horrible day was that. 73 .” Mora smiled with her mouth. while it creates new ones. Their secret hiding place revealed. “It all happened so fast. Sarah. her brother. Abia. but of course could not wait until Samuel was free of his responsibility. Three-year-old Judith cried unhurt as her five-year-old sister’s life was changed forever. and its front feet danced high in the air. It was for sport. was so in love with Samuel at the time. pudgy face. poor things risking life and limb to pick up the messes. Judith. poor creatures. poor things. Evil laughter filled the mouth of the soldier as he maneuvered his horse dangerously close to Samuel and his mule. which made the cart’s load shift and the cart tip over.Bread and Gossip none. Drawing her muslin apron to her round. The Roman soldier’s triumphant laugh drowned the whimpering cries of Samuel’s dear sister. I tell you. she wiped the sudden tears that left trenches down her flour-coated cheeks. Carts of wares spilled. People had to scurry away as fast as they could to keep from being run down.” she whispered. as if mentioning the event would superstitiously cause mishap to her or her family. “For 12 long years Samuel. The Roman soldier and his black. could do nothing with her leg but schlep it behind her as she tried to walk. as her right hip was crushed beneath the cart.
was to marry the youngest daughter from the same family. but her smile still has the power to charm the most curious. 74 . her only son. Did she think it was a family illness passed among the Ben-David siblings? Piously. “Enough about me. The two families had been friends for many years. as though it were proof of Judith’s commitment to marry her son.” “The hardest of all to face is the conclusions some people make that it was God Himself judging her and that the accident was a sign or proof of some hidden family sin. Her dark eyes are somewhat dulled by the constant pain. But that could not possibly be.Danc ing wit h Jesus Considering the rejection as an insult to the whole family. more’s the pity for the poor child. Abraham. “And that ugly crutch she has to use. Yet. Mora did not know what to do.” Mora continued the story as if she had never stopped. after all. and Mora was very leery when Abraham. Mora told the stranger how excited she was to have Judith be her daughter and delivered proof of her claim by showing the stranger the lovely handkerchief Judith had gifted her with. Mora seemed afraid that Judith might do to Abraham what her brother did to Sarah. she had reckoned. her fine boy. Judith. “You did ask about Abia. because Abraham. She reasoned that Judith was a strong girl and would bring to the family many handsome sons.” she said demurely. She has learned to cry behind her smile. you know. was pledged to be married to Samuel’s littlest sister. her family had been embarrassed by the event. as all Jewish women learn to do.” Mora hid from the stranger her puzzled eyes that still held the same question of suspicion. Abia had to learn to face head-on the unkind stares of the people who watched her stumble with a wooden crutch.
His eyes danced with merriment as He turned to make his way out of doors. the stranger tucked His bread purchase in the crook of His arm. yet this terrible tragedy…! Who can understand the workings of God?” She continued.” she purred softly. you do not know Me yet. Agatha. “No.” He said with sincerity. Neither a wife nor a mother could she be. I did not catch Your name. poor girl. “I cannot stay any longer for I am late to see my cousin. “How this old woman rambles on and on. “But kind sir. self-satisfied prayer of thanksgiving for the recent marriage of her other rather homely daughter of 17.” Her mouth muttered a quick. He disappeared into the 75 . gossip.” her face flushed from sudden embarrassment and guilt of sharing such intimate details of her close friend Hannah’s child to this man.” She pleaded for a morsel of information to pass along to other customers who might visit her later in the day. Mora remembered the stranger. who were still sitting on the bench in front of the bakery. I pray we will get to know each other one day very soon.” He said with hidden meaning. this stranger. leaving her with myriad unanswered questions starting to form in her mind. “Do I know you? You look somehow very familiar to me. please forgive me.Bread and Gossip “The Ben-Davids had always fared well by their ability to sew incredible works of art and had made quite a name for themselves. He turned to her with a humble smile and said. “My name is Jesus. her unfortunate parents cannot find her a husband. Just when she thought He did not hear her question. With that said. for who but her own family would want her? What is certain is certain. “Abia is 17 now.” With a nod of His head toward Judith and Abraham. swiftly turning back to her favorite vice.
Her tongue often reflects her wounds and inner struggles.” explained Judith with a smile. reassuring her family of her future happiness. dear family. too. at the river’s edge. “Mora is a actually a bighearted woman. and I have grown to love her.” the maturity in which Judith spoke seemed beyond her 15 years. Mora’s loving family is very patient with her and so must I be. “My future mother-in-law is a misplaced soul who was orphaned as a young girl and was passed around from one family member to another. but her fear of rejection causes her to act out in ways that often hurt others. that is how I first met Jesus!” 76 . John.” Judith said. “I took the handkerchief to her to show her kindness and to see Abraham. and she has grown to love me. “But more importantly.Danc ing wit h Jesus crowded marketplace on His way to meet His cousin. I have tried to show her acts of kindness.
The Jewish people had waited for centuries for the Jewish Messiah. spoke of the coming Messiah. John said he would identify Him. but amazingly.C H A P T E R 8 The Aftermath of Prophetic Destinies When They Collide Excitement grew even greater when John. the Baptizer. a man named Jesus joined others who were gathered awaiting baptism. 77 . history can be made within that ordinary period of time. On one such day. Could it be that He would come to this generation? One day can look like another. He indicated the time would not be very long until the Messiah would come to His beloved people. He requested of John to baptize Him in the Jordan River. as the sun sets.
With humility and a gentle smile. and God the Holy Spirit appeared on Earth together until that moment. The distinction of being chosen to announce the Messiah to the world was overwhelming. Jesus raised John from his kneeling place and encouraged him to fulfill his destiny. John the Wilderness Crier suddenly became John the Messiah Revelator. especially to the religious leaders.” Not since the world’s creation had God the Father. Declaring all the people involved as crazy or delusional. the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” John proclaimed with great enthusiasm. God the Son. They believed He was calling special attention to the baptism that took place that day between John and Jesus. The reports of the divine manifestations caused a great disturbance within the region. while others believed it was His affirmation. “Behold. John dropped to his knees in the muddy banks of the Jordan in humility and declared his unworthiness to baptize Jesus when he was asked to do so. Only some argued the special attention paid by God showed His displeasure. 78 . “You are My Beloved Son. I am wellpleased with You. rejecting the whole event. Some people claimed the noise was only natural rumbles of thunder in the skies. When John baptized Jesus.Danc ing wit h Jesus When John looked up from the muddy water and saw Jesus. they threw away all explanations with one wave of their self-righteous hands. Many people shook their heads. Hearing something unusual caused others to deduce the sound was indeed a proclamation of God. the Holy Spirit took on the bodily form of a dove that landed on Jesus. From the heavens above. A powerful voice came from the heavenly Father and said. while others heard clearly the voice of God the Father and watched the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove land on Jesus’ shoulder. the sky miraculously split apart.
Their ultimate goal became to discredit and harm the reputations of John and Jesus at the same time.The Aftermath of Prophetic Destinies When They Collide A delegation of religious men was formed. Whatever the reason for the questions. they weighed all the possibilities. But to lay claim to the 79 . and they set out to investigate this preposterous claim that Jesus was the Messiah. to look for clues and details for consideration. They trusted him. it became easy for them to find fault and incriminating evidence against anything remotely positive about the circumstance. to ponder. he was able to see more? Could it be his own faith increased when he saw the Holy Spirit for himself? Was it significant for John when the Holy Spirit took the form of a dove and landed on Jesus? Could it be the Holy Spirit is powerful and can share with humankind great mysteries of God? Could the Holy Spirit have recognized Jesus not only as the Messiah. Closed-minded. Knowing the Holy Scriptures as they did. but also as the Passover Lamb. some questions only developed into more questions. There were also a growing number of people who asked questions for the purpose of genuinely requesting information on the matter. Why did John not recognize Jesus as the Son of God until the baptism? Could it be that John did not understand that Jesus was the true Messiah until Jesus’ baptism. They posed the questions to debate. and have supernaturally imparted this knowledge to John? People were frantically searching for answers to life’s woes and were excited when they heard John speak out against injustice in all its forms. before coming to a decision. both pro and con. They questioned with doubt and uncertainty to explain away those things their faith was not developed enough to handle. they already knew the answers to any and all questions posed. Looking for all possible conclusions or points of view. when his own eyes beheld the Holy Spirit come from a split in the heavens? Could it be that when he saw that. They wanted proof that they were right in their opinion: the whole event was too impossible.
Danc ing wit h Jesus idea that his cousin was the Son of God was quite another thing entirely. 80 . making it unsafe for everyone. The suspicious were certain the whole thing was a family scheme to gain position and power by tricking those who were unaware and uneducated. Disbelief and hope both spread rapidly with each passing day. especially Jesus and His cousin John. More and more turmoil was arising in the district.
” Malachi shouted from the common courtyard outside the kitchen room as he made his way indoors—as he had done for as long as any one of them could remember. my old friend! So this is where you have been keeping yourself. preferring the harder one for himself. the mountain must come to Moses!” this old Jewish man’s voice shook with laughter. “Come! Come in. Yaron’s own father. my old friend!” Yaron said as he beckoned Malachi to take the padded chair he had just vacated. “If Moses will not come to the mountain. leaving no doubt that his joke was meant to convey how much he missed his younger friend Yaron at his regular booth in the marketplace. Yaron stood from his chair in honor of the older man who had been a good friend and neighbor of the Ben-David family longer than Yaron had been alive.C H A P T E R 9 And It Came to Pass “Yaron. the two of them had spent many hours together drinking dark tea as they shared their views on politics and religion with each other. long 81 . For many years.
brought much relief to the family as they laboriously worked on the fabric designs. to be nothing but chaos to others. There is something in the air and public opinions and viewpoints about these two men that make the air thick with controversy and much debate. He was old. “I have heard of the great honor you have been given to sew for Herod’s birthday celebration. Soon afterword. and somehow the relationship seemed to ease each other’s pain. “Please. at times. Malachi’s hand shook like his voice as he accepted the dark tea Hannah offered him as he took his seat among the family. Yaron was 17 at the time and had just lost his little brother by the same fate. enjoying the company of this family that he considered his own. and your work will honor us all. but his mind was sharp. had looked upon Malachi as a father figure. “Jewish workmanship is far superior to anything the Romans could ever muster. and he possessed an uncanny ability to make sense of their world that seemed.” His loyalty to faith and family was paramount and had grown despite all the trials and tribulations he had faced throughout the years. and his cousin named Jesus. he began his story of historical events that he 82 . “I am very interested in the man named John who has come from the wilderness. but he was also his closest friend.” the old man said. As he settled into his chair. Yaron and Malachi’s unique friendship developed slowly. do not stop your work for this old man. Malachi had been a vital part of the Ben-David family ever since the time when his wife and only son—who was four years old—were killed by the cruel hands of the Roman soldiers when they searched far and wide for the newborn King of the Jews some almost 30 years ago. with a trace of bitterness in his voice that arose whenever he had the occasion to speak of the house of Herod. Yaron’s parents began often inviting Malachi over for meals since he had vowed to never take another wife as a result of his overwhelming grief and guilt for having not been home to save his wife and child.” he said. an excellent storyteller.Danc ing wit h Jesus since deceased. Malachi.” he said referring to himself.
“I am the handmaiden of the Lord. Perhaps. it 83 .” Mary was betrothed to Joseph with a formal witnessed agreement made legally binding between Mary and Joseph’s families. John’s mother. she had remained barren because God had a greater plan for her. Elizabeth kept herself in seclusion for five months. her cousin Mary. who was also from Aaron’s priestly lineage. whom the Holy Spirit of God conceived in her although she was a virgin. She was thankful to God for extending His favor upon her and taking away the disgrace her barrenness had been to her and others. Mary was told that she was chosen to bear a son. Jesus. John and Jesus’ family connection was being discussed at great length in the marketplace and was cause for a growing number of heated discussions. Jesus would be great and would be called the Son of the Most High and heir to the ancient throne of David. and they were to be formally married about a year later. The bride’s price had been paid to Mary’s family. bringing forth a tapestry picture of the times in which they lived as seen through the eyes of an old Jewish man. was also visited by God’s angel. When Mary revealed that she was expecting a baby and Joseph was not the father.And It Came to Pass personally had lived through and shared his own beliefs and opinions. like Sarah and Hannah from Israel’s past. Some insisted John to be the Messiah while others maintained Jesus to be the Messiah. but was not to be left out of the interesting intellectual debate. Elizabeth. she remained in the home of her parents. threads from the past and threads of the present were woven together. but until then. just as the angel Gabriel had prophesied. A third more popular group supported neither claim. Could it be that her barren state would heighten the sense that her impending pregnancy was indeed a great miracle? When Elizabeth was in her sixth month. Mary gave permission by saying to the angel. at an old age had become pregnant with John. May it be to me just as you have said. As he spoke.
Instead. he was not afraid to do so. When Elizabeth. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord. greeted her cousin Mary. Meanwhile. An honor killing of his fiancée. who took her as his wife. And why has this happened to me that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting. Joseph sent Mary away to visit Elizabeth. 84 . Hoping to save her from this fate.” Mary stayed with her older cousin and other loving and concerned relatives and friends who came to share in the joyous occasion with Elizabeth until she gave birth to her son John. the baby in her womb moved and was suddenly was filled with the Holy Spirit. the child in my womb leaped for joy. and blessed is the fruit of your womb.Danc ing wit h Jesus created a great scandal. “Blessed are you among women. She pronounced a blessing on her young cousin saying. who lived about a hundred miles away in Judea. the first Roman emperor in charge of Judea. Elizabeth recognized she was being visited by the mother of the expected Messiah. who was still pregnant with John. especially since the bride’s price had already been paid. he wanted to get her out of the way until a solution could be worked out. After John’s birth. In a moment of penetrating spiritual clarity. Mary left Elizabeth’s house and went back to Joseph. Mary. by Joseph’s family was well within their rights and was expected. The young couple went away to Bethlehem for a census that was being taken by Caesar Augustus. Joseph was said to have had a dream from God verifying the truth of Mary’s pregnancy story: she was carrying the child of God within her. Having heard from God in the dream. He dreamed that the child conceived in her was of the Holy Spirit and that his name was to be called Jesus because He would save His people from their sins.
Some say she went there to escape from Herod’s wrath because John. Magi. Knowing the mere mentioning of this time in their history would cause everyone’s wounds to be opened. the angel Gabriel appeared yet again and declared the good news with great joy that in the city of David a savior was born. Out in the fields where shepherds looked out over their flock by night. The shepherds went to visit the child who was wrapped in swaddling clothes. dirty. King Herod was greatly alarmed that a takeover by the religious people of Judea would occur. and the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. “God with us”—in the form of a newborn baby. He sent his soldiers out to find the child. so all very young male children in Bethlehem and surrounding regions were slaughtered. or wise men from the East. Joseph. He believed that if they rallied around a newborn Jewish king he would be stripped of the title “king of the Jews. Herod wanted to intimidate and frighten the people of Judah. No Jew in the region at that time was unaffected by the tragedy. Elizabeth took John to the wilderness area of Judea and did everything as the Lord had instructed her. Guided by a star in the heavens. but it seemed to be God’s plan. The pain in Malachi’s voice was evident as he spoke. but did not find him.And It Came to Pass While they were there. Already extremely suspicious and fearful. found Mary. The night sky filled with heavenly hosts who praised God for the birth of His Son. he quickly continued on with his story.” Herod tried to trick the Magi into revealing to him the child’s whereabouts. the Prince of Peace. God was with His people once again— Immanuel. Mary gave birth to her firstborn son in a dark. They worshiped Him there and gave gifts for the newborn King. but was unsuccessful. who was under 85 . and smelly stable because the town was filled and there was no more room to be found at the inn. It was not quite the royal surroundings the Messiah King should be born in.
it ignited a flame of passionate responses from the truth seekers and fury in the hearts of others who deemed them as charlatans. Others reported that story was fabricated as a front for the real truth: Zachariah was killed for defying Herod’s soldiers and sending his wife away in the wilderness to save his own son from imminent doom. She went alone. in a fit of jealous rage and unsubstantiated suspicions. Joseph took Mary and Jesus to Egypt to escape the danger of Herod’s edict and remained there until Herod’s death. Jesus. Finally settling in a city called Nazareth. John and Jesus both lived. nor could they rely on the faith of their fathers. had Zachariah slain. Having been warned in another dream. It was rumored that King Herod.Danc ing wit h Jesus the age of two.” he confronted them and challenged their sincerity. Some said Herod’s insanity was so great he even believed the old priest Zachariah was the newborn King of the Jews. Like wind on cinders. swindlers. but John 86 . Pointing to the sinful behaviors and conduct of the extremely religious made him enemies all around. He said true repentance would bear good fruit and that they could not excuse away their sinful behavior on the grounds of their rich ancestry. but the events of their births were greatly impacting the lives of those who encountered either one of them. and was rewarded with punishment for insubordination. John spoke with great authority and told the highly religious they were sinful. or religious systems. Jesus grew in stature and in favor with people and God until the time of His baptism by John. Others said Zachariah was killed as a result of refusing to reveal the whereabouts of another Jewish boy. John and Jesus were now both 30 years old. Calling them a “brood of vipers. Although he held no power or position in the Jewish political. John had already made fierce enemies of the leading and most prominent religious leaders who had come to the Jordan River with the pretense of wanting to be baptized. and blasphemers. economical. when it was safe to return to Israel. his own nephew. was in great danger as well. Miraculously.
As soon as possible. There was also concern that Herod Antipas had an unnatural relationship with his niece. All these beliefs were foreign to Herod. John and many others considered their marriage one of adultery according to the laws of God. Herod enjoyed talking with John because he considered him strange and very unlike anyone he had met before. he requested an audience with him. believing she divorced herself from her first husband to marry Herod. who were not of Jewish descent and. From the shores of the Jordan River. was incensed. his own sovereigns? What impudence for John to speak of royal matters among the peasants of the region. despite John’s criticism of him for marrying Herodias when his first wife was not dead. had murdered many Jewish rabbis. she put extreme pressure on Antipas to have John arrested and put into prison at Herod’s palace. He admired the boldness and bravado of John to utter such things in his presence. when she came to live with him after he married her mother. “For a man of little words and one whose 87 . How dare he criticize them. on the other hand. He also openly criticized Roman interference in ruling the people of God. This included the family of Herod. Over a period of time. although he considered himself to be a Jew. but did not obtain a legal divorce from him. Malachi was exhausted from the long conversation with Yaron and the rest of his family. he came to think John to be a holy man. in fact. Herodias.And It Came to Pass pressed onward in his destiny and calling despite the rumors of threats of bodily harm and even death plots. John spoke openly of social and religious injustices to the large numbers of people who gathered along its banks. Salome. It was reported that when Herod heard some of the reports coming from the Jordan River about John the Baptist. Her resentment of John grew hourly. To then have the nerve to judge the royal couple as sinful in the eyes of their God and offensive to the Jewish people was simply not heard of.
had once been the highly acclaimed one who had ministered to God in Heaven. He despised God and resented Him for creating the man called Adam. the problems of this world could be solved quite easily! I will take my leave. who was made in the image and likeness of God. and the plot was getting more involved with each passing day. Yaron and the family discussed all of the things he shared. Adam was created different from other living creatures created by God. and he vowed to get even. The drama that was unfolding daily around them had many players. who responded in kind. Jesus went to a desert area near where John had spent his formative years. Meanwhile. This came 88 . Lucifer considered that the Father had replaced him and all angels with His new creation. As Malachi slowly made his way home. or lucifer. Jesus fasted and then was tempted by the devil. but with an incredible distinction: God’s own image. They greatly admired the wisdom of the older man.Danc ing wit h Jesus old legs do not work as the once did.” Malachi said with a smile as he referred to the nap he had grown accustomed to taking every afternoon. they had much food for thought and further discussion. “Between you and me. Being led by the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus. he rebelled against God. you certainly have an ear to the pulse of the community!” Yaron’s gentle teasing was not missed by the old man. likeness. With the additional information he had given them about what he knew of John and his cousin. but will pay you a visit again soon. and distinctive characteristics could be passed from one generation to the next. My old legs need the exercise. but for now there is a soft bed that seems to be needing me. Adam had God’s ability to reproduce and create life like animals. For 40 days He was with wild beasts and faced the full wrath of satan. It was widely believed that satan. but through an act of disobedience.
just as humankind was given. By doing so. Sin planted in the fertile soil found in The Garden would reap a huge harvest of sin. God had to remove Adam and Eve because the same law of sowing and reaping was in effect. God had equipped Adam and Eve with free choice of their wills. but they were rebellious nonetheless. The Garden of Eden was a place blessed by God. Making them stewards of His Kingdom on Earth. Now power hungry and possessed with the desire to lash back at God the Father. He instructed them to be fruitful and multiply and fill and subdue the earth. and followed him instead of God. Lucifer became obsessed with jealousy. When sin entered The Garden. One kernel of corn produced an ear of corn with endless more corn. After their rebellion. It was a hoax. having already proven to them how magnificently He could take care of all their needs. Earth was created for them as was all that the earth provided. ploy. and deception. Lucifer was dismissed from Heaven. He furiously came to the conclusion that if he could influence humankind to sin as he had done. he would be rid of the source of his contention. Eve. doubt. In the Garden of Eden. and they were His people to rule and reign over the earth. they planted seeds of pride. sin’s evil consequences would also be reaped with endless possibilities of evil. rebellion. yes. 89 . He was their God. trick. Adam and Eve were influenced by satan to sin and rebel against God by eating the only fruit in the whole Garden they had been forbidden by God to eat. lucifer sinned against God. Adam and Eve had worshiped the created being. satan. Given free will. Sowing corn reaped a harvest of corn.And It Came to Pass to a head when he received word that God was walking in a special garden called Eden with this man named Adam and his wife. he could inject the Father with the same pain he believed God had inflicted on him when He created humans. God supplied them with everything. By making the choice from free will. and he took a third of the angelic host with him. so Father had no choice but to remove them from The Garden they once shared. lucifer vowed in his heart to destroy humankind. and suspicion of God instead of worship of the Creator.
and primitive desires. One day He would send One who would cover their sins. Sin entered the earth and was multiplied. Fully man and fully God. Preparing Him for His ministry. to have popularity and public recognition. The Father waited for the right time in history when He would execute the plan foretold in The Garden. Failing in the attempt. The temptation in the desert required the Son of God to not use any rights or privileges of His deity. Jesus the Son of God would enter the womb gate of Mary. He made a blood covenant with them. but satan did. The next one dealt with an offering for power and wealth. Jesus needed no such proof. 90 . Last was the temptation to be worshiped and praised above God. It dealt with lust of the flesh. The Father would provide a second Adam to win back His people from satan. When satan found out about Jesus’ birth. The first was an attempt to give in to the temptation of pride and prove to satan who Jesus really was. Jesus had been baptized to wash away the sins of the first Adam. sinful humanity’s cravings. forgive the sins. the Holy Spirit filled Him and the Father validated Him. Lust of the eyes and greedy ambitions were at its root. he went about trying to kill Him through Herod the Great and other agents of evil on Earth. each unmasking the tactics satan held over humankind. and restore their relationship once again back to their Father. which ultimately led to satan’s desire for Jesus to worship him by kissing his feet. Dominion over the earth and people was handed to satan. Conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. When God slaughtered an innocent lamb to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness. Jesus would do what the first Adam could not do. he decided to put Him to the test to prove Jesus was fully human. Three temptation scenarios were offered to Jesus.Danc ing wit h Jesus Satan won a victory by Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God.
He started to preach. satan left. making rash promises or oaths. but the rewards would be worth it. His teachings were simple and about practical everyday things. preaching the Good News about the Kingdom of Heaven. 91 .” With that said. This is the meaning of the Law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets. When Jesus returned from the desert after 40 days. “You must worship the Lord your God and serve only Him. Jesus picked 12 men who stayed with Him.” He advised. Jesus went everywhere in Galilee. and prayer. saying that one’s heart had to be changed to bring about changes in one’s life. and He made disciples of them. Jesus then left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum near Lake Galilee. Malachi returned to tell Yaron and his family more of the story of Jesus’ activities. A few days later.” He told them. “People know you by your actions and your words. Malachi reported that Jesus was trying to edify and built up the people who had become weary trying to obey the Law and the exaggerated human-made laws that accompanied it. The news about Jesus spread all over the region.And It Came to Pass With each of the three temptations. teaching in the synagogues. worship. and healing all the people’s diseases and sicknesses. He showed the people how to ask God for what they need and how to be careful of money’s importance. Jesus fought satan not by divine powers. Jesus then ordered satan away with words that must have stung him. giving. like how to deal with anger. divorce. It would be difficult to follow these principles. This change was vital because the Kingdom of Heaven was near. but by the ones the Spirit and the Word of God possessed. and the angels came and took care of Jesus. He heard that John the Baptist had been put into prison. “Do to others what you want them to do to you.
“He is a prophet.Danc ing wit h Jesus People everywhere were following Jesus around and were eyewitnesses to Jesus healing a man with leprosy. to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord… Then He said that those words were being fulfilled that day. many criticized what they could not understand. Some started saying that demons obeyed Jesus because He was a demon Himself. to proclaim liberty to captives. and freedom to prisoners. 92 . but as often happens. It seemed strange that the very things that caused some to love Him caused others to hate Him. and the Temple guards were ordered to arrest Him. And they witnessed Jesus healing a demonized man. especially when He talked about being the Son of God. The Pharisees and Sadducees took full advantage of the growing sense of unrest Jesus was provoking. They saw a soldier’s servant being healed when Jesus was not even with him. Many were astonished and highly upset that He could be proclaiming Himself to be the Messiah. Jesus visited the synagogue at His hometown of Nazareth. but everyone who knew His healing touch was drawn to Him by the incredible love in His eyes.” People tried to capture Him. because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted. Yet He spoke with such confidence and authority that many believed Jesus to be the Messiah.” while others said. The people started to argue about Jesus. He offered an acceptance that penetrated the heart and caused many people to love and serve Him. too. chapter 61 verses 1 and 2: The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me. Some said. To the rabbi and congregation He read a passage from the prophet Isaiah. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted. Jesus did not seem like the king many were expecting. “He is the Christ. People saw the great healings.
and the curious could be found daily in search of Him. Knowing of their great suffering.C H A P T E R 1 0 “My Dancer” Jesus. As the evening was settling in and the sun at long last was nestled into the western sky. crowds began to gather. As her thoughts traveled to 93 . hoping to be ones Jesus would touch or speak to. Wherever Jesus moved. Hannah and her daughter. the ending of another day of sewing was at hand. Abia stepped outside to enjoy the beautifully colored sky as the sun left its final mark on the day. So many of the people who had been healed were relatives or friends of the Ben-David family. everyone was elated when the report came that they had been healed and set free at of the hands of Jesus. Hannah was thankful to be able to once again stand up instead of having to sit all of the time to sew. Skeptics. His name was certainly causing a stir. The marketplace was becoming filled with the talk of His ability to heal the lame and sick among them. truth seekers. After their dinner.
With a nod of her head.Danc ing wit h Jesus the time before Abia was healed. Abia began to recount her story to her mother. “I will never grow tired of hearing it. look at you my daughter. “Yes. and I thank God for every remembrance of that special time. Hannah acknowledged the time period Abia was referring to. I remember the dreams well. and if the the past is still too pain-filled. and the other dreams about dancing did not seem at all possible at the time. Do you remember. Abia was still amazed. you are healed and whole! I know you suffered greatly. she wanted to hear once again the story about how her pain had ended. Without knowing it. as you have said. “My dear daughter. The first one that came true was about your accident. tell me again the story of the day when you first met Jesus.” her mother implored Abia. it became fresh and anew to her how difficult it must have been for Abia to be stranded in one place for long periods of time without being able to get any form of relief from the pain it caused. Yet. “Yes. 94 . With her daughter’s accident on her mind. mother and daughter had the same thoughts.” With a grateful heart. It is my desire to tell the story again and again only with the hope of giving glory to God and to possibly give hope to the hopeless among us. do not tell it.” “The tale really began when I was four years old with a series of dreams about a nice young man who encouraged me to dance.” Hannah said with compassion she had learned from tending to her invalid daughter for 12 years. realizing how wonderful it was to be able to rise from a sitting position without assistance and walk without the assistance of a crutch. Momma?” Abia inquired. we have all suffered. but I am healed and whole.
Abia. and those shoes lasted longer than most. “Samuel. 95 . The prospect of Samuel someday marrying Mary made her extremely excited. forcing Abia to make a quick decision. Abia asked Samuel.“My Dancer” It had begun about a year before when. especially when Samuel had made the same confession to her about Mary. Mary.” Mary advised her friend when she heard Jesus was only a short distance from her home. one afternoon. “He is only just coming. if he was not too busy. Maybe you will be healed. Mary’s continual questions about him every time the two friends talked was a giveaway of the growing emotions she had for him.” she pleaded. Abia. Abia’s best friend. who was a shoemaker. Her shoes were prone to wear out quickly from dragging one foot when she walked. Yaron had traded the awning for a pair of shoes made especially for Abia with extra thick soles. Abia has something to ask of you. Mary had already confided in Abia about her interest in Samuel. she was loaded onto the cart and was heading down the dusty road that was swelling with people who were looking for Jesus to heal them or who wanted to listen to one of His wonderful teachings. was sitting with her under the shade of an awning that Yaron had made long ago for Mary’s father. who was fast approaching. Samuel will take you. She would love for her brother to find his true love.” Mary sweetly informed him. Mary looked up just at the moment that Samuel was walking by. and she trusted Mary with his heart and would love to have her in the family. Keeping her secret from Samuel was very difficult for Abia. With a roll of the eyes toward Mary. if he would possibly take her for a ride in the cart to follow Jesus. giving automatic answers for every possible objection Abia might have. Before she knew what was happening. You know he will if you ask him. “Go. go to Him.
Abia watched Jesus make the short distance toward her and then appear on the right side of her. He challenged her not to doubt what He was declaring when He called her His dancer. “My dancer. He whispered. It was as though He was pleading with her to believe in Him and His words. Abia honesty saw nothing but love. causing her heart to fill with pain that her eyes could not hide. In a flash.” A sudden wave of self-pity rolled over Abia. Can He not see I am unable to walk? Is this some kind of joke? Not sure what she was drawn to first.Danc ing wit h Jesus Samuel was leading the mule that was carrying Abia when he stopped for people to pass in front of them. Bowing from His waist. Abia’s head was spinning. Thankful for the veil that covered her face. “My dancer. They seemed to invoke hope and trust. with no hint of cruelty. Deep within His stare. but she could not identify it. 96 . There was something very familiar about Him.” He had called her. The look in His eyes seemed to be some kind of encouragement. and suddenly she became afraid. the walls surrounding her heart stood at attention as she tried to hide her eyes from His penetrating ones. Samuel smiled and greeted Jesus. very properly. who had walked around the back of the cart to its front. He touched Abia’s hand with His to get her attention. What if He has already passed? What if He is too busy or cannot see me for the throngs of people who are lining the dirt street? What if He does see me and walks in our direction? Just as she was about to indicate to Samuel her change of heart and her desire to go back home. Was He making fun of me or was He reading my heart’s cry? How did He know? Looking into His eyes for the brief moment after He spoke. Her mind swam with questions. His generous smile or the look she saw in His dark brown eyes—and deciding it was probably both—Abia permitted herself to look at Him.
yet promised to do the miraculous.” How could Jesus know what no one else in the world knew? Suddenly dreams from the past about dancing raced through her mind. but it was much more to her than just child’s play. she had followed the advice of a doctor. Sorrow danced with tears as grief partnered with heartache and the reality of her injuries took their toll. Even her name. Obediently. she had danced. her thoughts had been consumed with dance. soldier. the pain had been unbearable because she had been immobile for such a long time. 97 . the dream had come true. Day after day. who insisted that the best way for her to have any hope of walking was to lie on her back for months so her hip and leg bones could mend. Like all children. It was the unspoken desire of her heart. Her mission was to do everything humanly possible in the hopes of being able to sit. and one day dance again. but then run back to their homes. And indeed. who would come to see her with picked flowers. the pain had been relentless. walk. Abia. stand. She seemed to sense a closeness to God when she danced that she could not explain. When at last she could stand. Ever since the tragedy. meant “worshiper of God. night after night. one leg bore full weight while the other danced lifelessly beside it. leg. When at long last the day had come for her to sit up in her bed. She longed for the days before her accident when she twirled around and around in childish abandon. Hot towels for her hip made the process easier. Suffering came in many forms—liniments that burned her skin and other remedies that did nothing.“My Dancer” Dancing was what Abia missed more than anything else. and hurts. Soon misery and self-pity replaced many of her childhood friends. She had been warned in one of the dreams about an accident that left her moaning words like playing. The driving force behind every setback and every painful experience was her hope and will to dance again.
she opted to walk with it instead. Consumed with the hope and desire to dance. He padded the top and instructed her on how to use it in place of the lame leg and lean on it for support. She was realizing that indeed that dream had come true as well. she landed in a heap upon the floor—along with all of her hopes of dancing. To dance was important. 98 . Abia began to gain some understanding. dancing had been simply a means to bring her joy and a way to express what was in her heart. she began to sway from side to side to a rhythm resounding in her head. As she reflected upon the earlier times. Casting caution to the wind and the crutch away from her side. Finding it too difficult. but there was something more than movement that she longed for. Tears of joy danced in the eyes of Abia’s entire family when at long last she took her first steps with her crutch as a new partner. Abia had taken advantage of being alone one afternoon while everyone was outside in the courtyard.Danc ing wit h Jesus As weeks rolled into months and months into years. As a young child. Tears of frustration marched down her cheeks as her mind assessed any bodily damages from the fall. Abia had danced in her mind and pondered its importance and looked for its significance. It was a bitter pill to swallow. she had been too young to search for the deeper meaning of dance. With little else to do. Facts were facts: she could not physically dance. The accident had left her without the ability to dance or have full range of movement. She stood up with the aid of her crutch and began to pray for God to help her and cause her to be able to dance as she once had done so easily. Abia gradually began to make progress in walking with the aid of a wooden crutch that Samuel had carved from a wooden stick. Leaning on the crutch. Abia also remembered the dream she once had about trying to dance with Momma’s broomstick. but why? At five years old.
and spinning in circles conveyed delight. Skipping. she realized she had been communicating with God in an extremely unique way. yet she was driven by a strong need or inner compulsion to find its secrets. Her body and mind spoke silent worship messages to Him. This was a mystery to her. It became a communication tool in the hands of God. When she heard how Zachariah had been struck dumb as a sign to others of his divine encounter with an angel of the Lord. could dance be used for communication purposes? As Abia remembered dancing when she was young. Her silent form of communication also brought forth a response from those who observed it. The former brought smiles and applause. a tool was something that could be used as a means of achieving a desired 99 . Despite having all capability to personally engage in dance stripped from her. As she knew it. it completely occupied Abia’s thoughts. For 12 years Abia pondered what dance meant to her and whether it could have a greater purpose than merely expressing one’s childish emotions.“My Dancer” As time passed. If dance is a tool to be used as a means of communication. another filled its place. In the hands of God. jumping. which He understood. raised eyebrow or a quick smack on the behind. turning. Abia realized that God’s ways are quite different from hers. while stomps could convey displeasure or frustration. What was even more amazing was that her dancing also invoked a response from Him! Abia had an inner knowing of what pleased Him and that dancing was what she was created for. With one problem solved. then what else is it? Dance as a tool was a new concept. while the latter brought forth a disapproving. she began to watch her younger sister for many years express her emotions through dance. Abia also saw how it communicated to others her emotions without her uttering a word. Zachariah’s silence actually spoke to others. Having witnessed many of Judith’s emotions expressed through dance.
could dance be used to accomplish something beyond communication? Is it possible thatHe could use dance movements to accomplish something on Earth that He desired? Could the dancer be a tool in His hand for His purposes to be fulfilled? Could the dancer and the dance illustrate to others God’s particular intentions here on Earth and with His power make them happen? Abia’s questions seemed as endless as her desire to dance—and equally as hopeless. allowing her time to process what the statement “My 100 . Gone was the special language He taught her to speak when she danced with Him. The reality of Abia’s deformed hip and leg. she forced her thoughts from the past back to the present. A needle was a tool she was very familiar with. she was reminded of how they were used to awaken something inside her. was too painful. A sewing needle in the hands of a tailor can be skillfully used to produce the desired result or purpose of a lovely warm coat for winter or a sturdy sail for fishing. She had stopped having the dreams about dance when she reached the age of six. The delightful little tune He once sang to her in her dreams had long faded.Danc ing wit h Jesus result or for accomplishing a particular purpose. The sweet memory of the wonderful dreams of dancing with the very nice man had grown dim with each passing year. Once again Abia heard the voices of the crowds who were gathering to find Jesus. the loud voice of disillusionment and discouragement had replaced it. With a quick shake of her head. All hope of feeling His hand in hers once more as they danced in the streets of Jerusalem had dissolved. which had replaced the perfectly healthy ones in her dreams. In the hands of the Creator. He stood patiently before her. Recalling dreams from the past that involved dancing. It was replaced with new dirges of lamenting and sadness as she mourned the unfulfilled dreams of dance within her. Was I destined to dance? Was God speaking to me through my dreams to point the way for me? But that was a long time ago before the circumstances of her life had put an abrupt stop to all hope of seeing her destiny fulfilled.
She felt changed by being in the company of Jesus. Leaning toward her. She could not comprehend it or explain it. and He healed all the people who reached out to Him. He turned and slowly walked away. Just then. as impossible as it seemed. As Abia heard the sound of the whistle grow fainter. but where? When? Suddenly she remembered! It was the tune sung by the man in her dreams when they walked down the streets of Jerusalem. Abia heard the faint sound of Him whistling as He departed.“My Dancer” dancer” had awakened within her. including worship by dancing. When Jesus had spoken those two words to her. There it was again! She had heard that tune before. Yet. soared through her mind and her heart for the first time since her accident. Soon He disappeared in the growing masses of people who lined the road in desperate need of His healing touch. even if it was only for a brief moment of time. “My dancer. but they showed no signs of condemnation. “My dancer. Joy rose up within her. Abia felt a generational tug in the core of her being that seemed to confirm the growing desire she had to dance once again. but she felt she could trust Jesus. there it was. Her heart was overflowing with love and anticipation.” she felt He had reached into her and placed destiny and purpose back into her heart. His dark brown eyes seemed to convey how much He understood her conclusions of defeat and hopelessness. she felt optimism rise. Could she dare hope again? Could she dare believe that her dreams could come true? It was baffling to her to have such joy when her lifeless leg remained hidden under the dusty riding blanket and the ugly wooden crutch was close at hand. 101 .” With that said. Hope. The faithful worshipers of God who were long since dead had truly left behind a legacy of worship. He once again whispered the words.
she was certain. It held so many dance moves that it would indeed take two new legs and two new hips to perform them all! Abia’s heart held His promise like a treasure in safekeeping. Soon there will be another opportunity to finish your story. Of this. She could not explain why and where her faith was coming from.Danc ing wit h Jesus Praise and worship rose within Abia’s heart. how she longed for the day when her withered leg would be restored and she could physically worship Him in the dance! Her mind had been a container that had stored away all the dance moves she wished her body could do. Yet she knew Jesus would make a way for her to dance once again. and we will need our sleep. “It is late and tomorrow there is much work left to do. I know the ending. There was certainly a lot more of her story to come. 102 . but never grow tired of hearing it!” Hannah said as they made their way to their beds. who anxiously want to hear once again about how Jesus had healed her daughter. It was not until Yaron appeared at the door to investigate the location of his daughter and wife that Hannah realized the darkness of the night that had surrounded them. Oh. Abia’s eagerness to tell it was equally met by that of her mother. Gratitude flooded her soul.
as if the strong Roman presence at every corner was not enough of a reminder. Temple money changers were cheating the people who made daily sacrifices by padding the weights to make the items they purchased for sacrifice 103 . As the wickedness continued. Tolerance for Jewish people was draining away. The deterioration did not originate with the current government. which made it a time of great moral decline and degradation. it spilled over into the light of day. planned evil and destruction for some of the citizens of Jerusalem. others.C H A P T E R 1 1 Royal Deceptions While many were asleep in their warm beds at night. during the cover of night. The Romans had no appreciation of God or His ways. The evil hand of injustice had made its ugly mark on everything it touched. but it had not lessened with time. Warnings to be cautious were given daily. Religious leaders were being corrupted by bribes paid by some Roman government officials to ward off Jewish skirmishes over the new religious leader named Jesus. No one was safe from the Romans’ watchful eyes.
they listened to the rumors nonetheless. they took advantage of the opportunity to collect from the Roman soldiers special favors or even money to laugh away the miracles that were occurring daily. Some were given Roman protection for any assistance offered to them to damage the reputations of John the Baptist or Jesus of Nazareth. they enjoyed steaming hot cups of black tea. which came from their wives. Herod desired to be made king of the region. Herod Antipas and Herodias were often the objects of much attention. some of the special teachers of the Torah became greedy. It was learned that Herod Antipas and his wife Herodias were behind much of the deception. who possessed even greater ambition than her husband. The palace walls were thick. To achieve their goals.Danc ing wit h Jesus more expensive. For this to occur. they needed the Roman council to come to full understanding of and agreement with Herod’s great leadership capabilities. but information about the goings on behind the walls of the royal couple found its way to the marketplace quiet easily. 104 . not merely tetrarch. wanted to be made queen. and Herodias. The uprisings of the past had created much doubt in the mind of the Roman Emperor about Antipas’ ability to rule as governor and even more about his ability to function as king of the Jews. Some of the royal palace kitchen slaves came daily for their supply of fresh fruits and vegetables sold in marketplace. Unfortunately. The wives of shopkeepers where known to engage the cooks and market slaves in conversations with the hope of finding some juicy tidbit of gossip to share with the other wives. a false impression must be made. Knowing how much they were admired by their fellow Jews. Their conversations of daily political and social events often included their piece of the gossip puzzle. While some of the men scolded their wives for listening to gossip. When the men gathered together after the morning rush of customers.
He found John to be quick-witted and challenging. So to appease his wife. When he spoke out publicly against them. and weak leadership skills over the Jewish people. Antipas was perplexed as to what to do with John since he had come to enjoy listening to him from time to time. but putting him into prison had not stopped his message from continuing. his newest wife. And John now had a collaborator and superior by the name of Jesus working to spread the same message. Yaron also heard rumors at the street market that Herodias would go to great lengths to get revenge against John. bound him. Keeping her husband’s name spotless was becoming a full-time job and one Herodias did not want to have for much longer. negligence. Herod Agrippa. She was already nagging him to go to Rome and demand to be given the official title of king from her brother. Yaron and his friends laughed and elbowed each other when they spoke of Herod Antipas and Herodias’ relationship. At best he was superstitious of John. She had already locked him away in prison. She set out to clean up Antipas’ mistakes made by his laziness. no matter how badly John the Baptist frowned upon doing so. 105 . she would marry again to obtain it. he arrested John. If Antipas did not give her the title she so desperately sought. Even a man considered by many as a prophet would not deter Herodias from her goals. they would have said that Herod Antipas was afraid of his Herodias. knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. and put him into prison. She had social and political control over her husband and was no doubt using her womanly wiles when necessary to gain much more.Royal Deceptions Herodias aimed to have her ambitions fulfilled and was determined to let nothing stand in her way. The older men agreed this may have been a temporary fix to silence her. Her lust for a title ignited an obsessive hatred toward John. John the Baptist was a threat to the magical delusions she was trying to paint for Roman government. both qualities of which the palace household sadly lacked. Rumor had it that Herod Antipas was somewhat afraid of John and his growing popularity. If the truth were known.
Herodias would have no part. The marketplace buzzed with the newest information from palace servants. Would she go as far as using her daughter. Salome. at least until a better plan was devised. 106 . By being married to Herod Antipas. It was rumored that Herod had a wandering eye and would tolerate Herodias’ outbursts for only so long. Waiting patiently for a convenient or opportune time. she knew she had to do whatever it took to remain on Herod’s good side. The old men pondered how far Herodias would go to increase her control. she enjoyed a position of great wealth and social standing. as a pawn? By using her daughter. Until then. She knew Herod Antipas may have regretted their marriage. Even if she had to have him murdered. She would serve just as well as her mother to satisfy his ambitious political and social goals. Of this. he had to be stopped. Herodias felt John the Baptist needed to be silenced by whatever means necessary. It was a maledriven society led by self-indulgent men. especially when his former father-in-law was talking of waging war against him. but she was a woman in a man’s world. who described raised voices and temper tantrums when Herodias did not have her way. It would be prudent to remember the rules of this game and that patience was her greatest weapon. would she be assured of a greater position than she now possessed? The palace servants and slaves could only shake their baffled heads as they contemplated Herodias’ logic. Her temper tantrums had to turn quickly into sly and wily pouts to hastily apprehend the affection and attention of Herod once again. To keep it. she remained mindful of the fact that her life was good and rich. Herodias’ young daughter and his niece. Some heard Herod had been seeking the attention of Salome.Danc ing wit h Jesus As a warning to others to think twice before publicly criticizing the royal family. Herodias knew her position was always precarious and something that was not to be taken for granted. Her own ambitions of title and position had to take a back seat to Herod Antipas’ goals. this spider was busy building her web of destruction.
Everyone was growing weary and needed to hear some good news to focus on while they worked. Time inside the Ben-David household seemed to be at a standstill with the added pressure to begin final preparations of the fabrics that were to be delivered soon. It was sometimes easy to forget the outside world when one worked inside so much. Hannah suggested to Abia that perhaps she could tell again about the time when Jesus healed her. 107 . So Abia continued her story by telling of the events of almost a year ago after Samuel had taken her to see Jesus and she had heard Him call her His dancer. everyone was feeling the push to complete their particular assignments.C H A P T E R 1 2 The Dancing Healer With only a few days to complete the sewing project before the long-awaited birthday celebration was to occur. the strain was having its effect on them all. While they worked.
Reports of Jesus healing people spread like wildfire. like her. Jesus left Nazareth and moved to Capernaum. and off they went. With great excitement and trepidation. Jews and Gentiles. men and women. she saw many wounded and hurting people. heal me so I can worship You with my whole body and soul. So many people lined the dirt road. Abia had heard that Jesus was said to be heading to Jerusalem. rich and poor. They traveled all over Galilee with Jesus and witnessed great miracles and healings. Abia’s heart beat faster as each mile took them closer to Jesus. believers and unbelievers alike—all wanting and waiting for Jesus to come near. and Abia and her family were among them. The cart was loaded for the trip to Jerusalem. desperately seeking their healing. and paralysis. and Abia started to wonder if Jesus would ever be able to see her. She was reminded of the time a few months prior when Samuel took her to see Jesus at the insistence of her friend Mary. Some. It was said He could heal people who were afflicted with demonpossession. awakening in her the hope that He would heal her so she could once again dance. God. which was by the sea. Along the way. People had witnessed Jesus healing all kinds of sicknesses and diseases. 108 . she asked Yaron to take her to Jesus. Samuel lifted her onto a blanket in the back of the cart.” she whispered repeatedly. Great multitudes of people were following Jesus. Could today be the day He will heal me? Abia wondered. She had to know. “Please. epilepsy. There were old and young. were being carried by whatever means available. “My dancer” He had called her. and Jesus taught the disciples how to heal people as well. Many people began to follow Jesus.Danc ing wit h Jesus It was at the time when Jesus had heard that John had been put in prison and He departed to Galilee. He gathered together 12 men whom He called disciples and taught them daily about the Kingdom of God.
A blanket for Abia was spread near the fire.” he said. and she found herself lying back onto the blanket for some much needed rest. paralyzed from the waist down. Who am I to think God would allow me to be healed when others need it so much more? An evil voice mocked her as she prayed in her dream for the ability to walk once again. He doesn’t remember you and won’t bother with you. He will heal me.” Suddenly. Hannah and Judith were busy preparing the next meal. and he had no one to help him. “He will find me.The Dancing Healer Yaron decided to pull the cart near the water’s edge to rest and be refreshed by the wind that swept across the water. Abia awoke from her dream. “This will be a good place to wait. Your heart is filled with anger and bitterness. “No. Her neck began to ache from the constant movement back and forth as she watched for any signs of Jesus’ approach. In her dream. It was the time of year when the daylight heat would melt quickly when night approached. Abia wondered. Her mind was filled with doubt and unbelief once again. no. 109 . shaking her head back and forth. A struggle raged within Abia as to whether she would be healed or not. The sun was beginning to set as darkness silently slid over the land just as it had filled her head in the dream. she saw once again the faces of the hurting multitudes they had met along their way.” she responded. Dark shadows of pain and resentment slowly rose to the surface of her heart and spilled into her thoughts. One in particular stood out among the rest. He will never be able to find you. What possible use could you be to Him?” the menacing voice screeched. The heat of the day and the long trip had finally caught up with her. He was an old man. Even her dreams were filled with thoughts of healing. and a fire would also be needed. he was dragging his emaciated legs down the uneven road. no. With only his arms to walk with. “You aren’t good enough.
and God’s punishment is firm. and was doomed to spend the rest of her life watching life pass by. The silent nod beneath her hooded veil confirmed that their opinion of her matched the one she had of herself. The young men her age gazed upon her long enough to have their curiosity satisfied. besides. It was a way to cope with the pain. My dancer challenged her to confront her beliefs and to make assessments between facts and truth. Do I really believe He could heal me? Do I really believe He wants to heal me? Do I have the courage to believe either or both? 110 . nor a mother will she ever be. but worse was the pain to her heart. they felt so true. Abia’s body stored the physical pain and evidence of the incident. As she grew older. Then quickly they averted their eyes in fear that she might misinterpret their stares of pity for attraction. Most of her childhood friends had rejected her when they realized she was no longer able to run and play. She came to believe the messages from the stares of the young men and the poisonous ideas behind the wicked songs that were sung by the girls. The children confirmed her insignificance and the low value she held for herself. she remembered the physical pain.” When Abia finally came out from the safety of her house and walked with the assistance of the wooden crutch.Danc ing wit h Jesus As bitter tears made tracks down Abia’s face. superstitious parents: “Abia is cursed by hidden sin. but not as a contributor. When Jesus referred to Abia as “His dancer. but His declaration caused her to discover her true mindset and belief structures. Through the years. she shook hands and made friends with these beliefs. but her mind became the storage bin of buried emotional trauma and pain too savage to comprehend.” her heart jumped alive with hope. a useless oddity. Abia was broken. the young girls sang a song with poisonous lyrics inspired by religious. She will never marry. she met more heartache.
She could not keep her eyes from His. Abia watched with excitement as He surveyed the crowds of people and eagerly looked at each person. Smug with all the answers to life’s most complicated questions. if she would never walk normally again or was asked to give up her dream of dancing. “Abia. She knew in that moment. Facts are facts. Why do tears of sadness and regret fill my ears? she wondered. Lord. Did she dare give birth to hope when all other attempts lay stillborn within her? No longer did she possess anything that could awaken faith on its own. it is I.” He said. Abia sat straight up. With a jolt. but to remain loyal to such hope was dishonest.” she said meekly as she peered over the veil that hid her face. She had decided long ago to resign herself to the evidence that was clearly before her: she was lame and would never dance again. She felt a familiar presence nearby and heard Him whistle the joyful. Hope saw her through many trials. He had searched for her and found her. The firelight danced on His face as He stepped out of His boat at the water’s edge. and in that reality she needed to dwell.The Dancing Healer A crippled piece of humanity with no worth did not add up to the prophetic title of “His dancer” that He had proclaimed when she last saw Him. it would still be well with her soul because Jesus had called her by name. Abia laid her back onto the blanket made warm by the crackling fire. I’ve been looking for you. The love and acceptance she saw in His eyes reflected an identity for 111 . “Yes. Her truth had won out. The conflict was over. Yet she could not shake her questions. mature way to handle them was thrown away as she began to shout at the top of her voice. “Papa! Momma! Samuel! Judith! Jesus is near! Jesus is near!” Jesus’ laugh filled the darkness and chased away all gloom. All of her newly-formed piety regarding life’s injustices and the correct. turning in her direction. recognizable tune. Abia.
Laughter and joy filled their hearts.” He said. She shyly lifted her hand to Him. waiting for the familiar tug she had grown accustomed to when someone offered her a hand to move or assist her in some way. She sensed that the ever-increasing evidences of facts she presumed to be true about herself could be exchanged for His truth—if she dared to believe. she realized that it was up to her to stand. He was gone. As Abia started to move her legs. Abia moved in delight. Some cried with joy and praised God. offering her His hand. Jesus took her by both hands and whirled her around and around in a circle dance of joy. Others 112 . and praising Jesus with each and every turn. she knew she could do anything with His help.Danc ing wit h Jesus her that was vastly different than the one she had for herself. they were filled with warmth. twirling. not even for a deformed hip and lame leg that had not stood unassisted for 12 years. Suddenly. Tears of thankfulness filled His eyes as He looked Heavenward. She had a choice. and with Judith. Nothing seemed impossible. Hotter than the homemade ointments that once burned her hip and leg. “My dancer!” Jumping. Abia wasn’t sure how long they were there. but when she eventually looked up. this warmth left no marks. and as she did. When she looked deeply into His eyes. Her eyes were filled with tears of happiness and an overwhelming sense of gratitude. She stood. and in humility they all landed on the ground to worship Jesus. Looking about her for the wooden crutch. Then He shouted for all to hear. with Samuel. She danced with her Papa and Momma. “I think you owe Me a dance. People from all around came to see for themselves what Jesus had done for Abia. Abia soon realized it would never be needed again. but ignited a response. It did not come. It penetrated deep into her bones. Abia knew that taking His hand required a measure of faith.
“Bless the Lord.The Dancing Healer stood some distance away with their curiosity satisfied. King David’s words had never been so true to her. and when I made the decision to accept His truth for mine. Abia knew she could love Him because He had first loved her. He who had redeemed her life from destruction and crowned her with loving kindness and tender mercies would be honored for all time. I was healed? Physically she was healed. her life was much the same as it had always been. filled with hard work 113 . she could hear the echo of excited cries from people when Jesus came near to them as they declared. The truth He spoke of surpassed the evidence of facts she had held to be true in her mind. O my soul. Friends and family from near and far came to witness for themselves the miracle they had heard about. She had come to this realization: How can I answer the prophetic call to dance while holding onto the thoughts that crippled me? Abia determined that forever she would bless the name of Jesus. Jesus had saved from her from herself. people’s curiosity seemed to wane. Abia shouted. His name would always remind her of the goodness of God. She wondered.” she sang. Praise the Lord! A year had passed from the monumental day when Jesus healed Abia along the shores of the Sea of Galilee. but disbelief still filled their minds. Never would she forget the benefits of having God as their Father and the privilege of being called His people. “I can dance!” Abia’s heart cup ran over with praise and thanksgiving each and every time she stood up and walked. but her faith increased. As the days passed. Could it be that my reality prevented me from accepting His truth. but she was also healed emotionally. In many ways. from some distance away. Suddenly. He who forgives all iniquities and heals all diseases shall forever be praised. “I can walk!” “I can see!” “I can hear!” “I’m healed!” Joining the earthly chorus and acknowledging to all. all that is within me.
bend. run. including the ability to painlessly sit. skip. 114 . turn. Solomon’s own words described the season of time that was upon Abia and her family. With the deadline fast approaching. Every time she moved her feet and legs to the rhythmic beat of everyday life. kick. Everything seemed to be changing. there is “an appointed time for everything. and spin in a circle. And there is a time for every event under heaven. He said. reach. she saw it as a form of worship.” In the room that once felt like her prison. but with renewed vitality. She celebrated every movement of the dance. and she excitedly danced to every song. and the new season to dance had begun. No longer needed. Each day of her life was now a dance of its own. jump. kneel. energy. the wooden crutch served only as a reminder of Jesus’ touch that had healed her and the grace He had extended toward her. but that was not entirely true. Abia continued to sew. Much had happened in a short amount of time. twist. the Ben-David family diligently worked to complete the sewing order issued from Herod’s palace for his birthday celebrations. and a zest for life. step. stretch. stand.Danc ing wit h Jesus and never ending chores. Abia’s season of mourning had passed. and nothing seemed to stay as it was.
He was a man of his word. Yet. and his sense of duty and responsibility was strong. Yaron muttered a quick prayer to thank God for his conscientious and hard-working family. 115 . and napkins to the palace as he had promised Akil. the head social planner in the palace of Herod. Yaron spoke of his regret for giving his assurance to Akil when all the sewing was completed. Over and over again.C H A P T E R 1 3 A Change of Plans The mounting tension and violence in the streets of Jerusalem made Yaron especially hesitant to hand deliver the dining cushions. and what he promised he would personally see through until its completion. towels. Comforted by his plan. Yaron was a man of integrity. Not only did the job get finished on schedule. table covers. there was a little time to spare. he and Samuel placed each hand-stitched item carefully on the cart. This would permit them to make the delivery and get back before the sun cast shadows on people’s faces and darkness covered friend and foe alike.
Hannah decided against going in favor of resting at home from the two weeks of long. allowing entry into the great banqueting hall. where they would hand deliver the sewn items to Akil himself. Armed with written permission given by Akil. Samuel looked back at his father. he would have a slave boy ready to lead them to the kitchen’s side entrance. The fabric lining would keep dirt away from the pristine white materials that were used. Judith. standing guard on all three sides. once they were inside. Yaron wanted to see for himself that the cart remained steady and able to ward off any potential problems with the fabrics as they traveled the bumpy road to the palace. and everyone eagerly looked forward to catching a glimpse of the mysteries behind the palace walls. and Hannah they could ride with him and Samuel while they made the delivery as a reward for the hard work. Papa. The height of the defensive walls and the conspicuous guards stationed all about the palace’s rim left a lasting impression that uninvited visitors would not be welcomed. they would transport the goods into the palace gates from the east side. so the immaculately laundered linens were 116 . and their journey could begin. The boy would briefly leave them at the kitchen entrance while he retrieved final written authorization from within the palace. and Abia planned to walk behind the cart. Akil had explained how. This was a chance of a lifetime. all that was left to do was to pack. Yaron’s excited expressions soon turned to serious ones as he explained the procedure to enter the palace. And Hannah looked forward to hearing about it when they returned. Samuel would ride on the seat as Judith.Danc ing wit h Jesus Yaron had promised Abia. With the meeting planned. Exhilaration soon overtook all previous fatigue as the mulepulled cart was finally loaded with the beautiful handcrafted wares and was made ready to go. who had checked and rechecked the goods that were placed inside something that looked much like a giant pillowcase that lay low on the flat part of the small cart. hard work.
A Change of Plans safely tucked inside. With a nod. have truly worked my fingers to the bones!” she remarked waving her ten digits high in the air. and as she did. causing him to tumble to the ground instead of onto 117 . “I will be fine and am looking forward to a long-needed nap. Carelessly. God indeed was always present in their lives. With instructions to stay put. “You are a good wife. my husband. my Hannah!” he said as he quickly made his way to the door. Yaron Ben-David. Hurriedly. the small caravan moved forward until Yaron gave Samuel a shout to stop the proceedings immediately only a few yards from its origins. Yaron’s left foot caught the solid casing on the side of the door. “Have you seen the important documents that we will need to enter the palace gates?” He inquired of his wife as he frantically surveyed the rooms once more. he laughed and was reminded once again of the goodness of God for having blessed him with such a fine and loyal wife. Very gently she placed her hand upon Yaron’s breast. Yaron quickly ran back into the house to ask Hannah one more time if she indeed preferred staying at home to rest rather than going with the family to see the palace. Seeing her framed in the doorway. “Go!” Hannah said. Samuel tried to wait patiently for the signal to begin and prayed the beast that carried the cart could do the same. he reached for the mezuzah which hung on the doorpost and kissed the fingers that touched it. they heard him mumbling under his breath something about leaving some important documents behind and something else no one could understand. You. How Yaron loved and respected God and His laws and was reminded once again of his duty to fulfill them. the documents’ safe hiding place was rediscovered.
Girls. Samuel and Hannah lifted Yaron from the ground and guided him back into the house.” Yaron finished with a weakened smile. stay with Samuel and do not leave his side. 118 . Seated on his bed. and when you return home. A purplish-blue color was already making its way to his skin from around the knee cap. Dazed from fatigue and from the sudden impact of the fall. Samuel took from Yaron the parchment giving permission to enter the royal gates. Hannah’s quiet nap now a dream of the past. Take care of your sisters.Danc ing wit h Jesus the fully loaded cart. Hannah. Abia knew full well the pain he was suffering and forced herself to listen to him as he hurriedly prepared them for the journey. Samuel. she quickly set about making things comfortable for her husband. Hannah nodded to them her approval and silently said a quick prayer for Yaron’s knee and her children’s safety as they made their way to the cart and on to King Herod Antipas’ palace. You will complete the job. despite waves of pain that radiated from Yaron’s knee. Yaron had no other choice but to send the rest of his family on without him. Through pain-filled eyes. and Abia stood silently while the final directions were made. and Abia arrived at the same time and quickly saw what he had already seen. “Follow Akil’s instructions precisely. Samuel. Samuel. The training she had received when Abia was five years old once again served her family well. The pain in his knee was throbbing with intensity that caused him to lean back upon his bed exhausted. Judith. Judith. Keep the fabrics clean and give them to no one except Akil. pausing only long enough to once again touch the mezuzah. Yaron rolled up his pant leg to reveal his worst fear. you will tell me and Momma of your wonderful adventures. he confirmed everyone’s suspicions: the swollen knee made the decision for him. Hannah quickly took a wet towel and wrapped his knee. Do not indulge yourself in idle curiosity.
without hesitation. and to him were they to give up their precious parcels. With growing fascination. Akil.C H A P T E R 1 4 Festive Illusions The palace guards received the letter of entrance from the royal social planner. their eyes drank in the 119 . A palace slave led them past the royal gardens and glimmering pools to the chaos of the kitchen area near the great banqueting hall. Samuel carried the biggest bulk of the merchandise. More than once. although Samuel would never have admitted it to his two younger sisters. demanding gaze of the imposing man frightened all of them. the palace servant bowed swiftly away from the menacing man. They were to report directly to him. Samuel had to scold Judith and Abia for slowing down their pace to gaze at the marvelous sights only wondered about until now. With a quick introduction. The dark. while Judith and Abia struggled with the rest. the man totally responsible for the social event of the year. At last the palace servant silently directed the three to Akil. his mission accomplished.
It was Papa’s hope that their work would far surpass Akil’s expectations. The immense banqueting hall was filled with low sitting tables. Akil’s penetrating look assessed Samuel at once. He seemed somewhat relieved by the finished product. crossed Akil’s face as he assessed the royal blue tablecloths with matching brilliantly white overlays. and his long. Samuel met the man eye to eye and explained how Papa suffered from an injury just before making the delivery. with the royal table at the apex. “Where is your father?” his inquiry sounding more like a warning. Assistance came immediately to relieve Samuel and the girls of their cargo. the goal was achieved. With more claps. and from the look of appreciation that flashed across Akil’s face. Immediately the servants began to dress the tables. When the royal blue and white striped banner (one banner) bearing the initial “H” framed in gold was hung high upon the wall behind the guest of honor’s table. Akil was a man who knew elegance. A look of impatience. Akil signaled the other servants to take the heavily padded. dark finger pointed to the table covers. As much as Samuel enjoyed seeing the works of their hands being displayed. the man Akil fascinated him more. The elaborate decorations from the floor to the ceiling made the tables awaiting our coverings look completely out of place and undressed. Akil gave two quick claps. yet commanded respect as much as any 120 . all angling outward. Two young slave girls shyly gathered from Abia and Judith the embroidered hand towels and napkins and placed them on serving tables discreetly hidden behind the royal ones. or maybe relief. it was the crowning touch. royal blue and white kneeling cushions especially designed for the long elegant dining tables.Danc ing wit h Jesus sights as they waited until Akil had finished discussing the final arrangements with the head table-dresser.
the servants each attended to their assigned tasks. and from skilled fingers these beautiful creations were formed. and Abia watched the brightly colored turban worn by Akil until it disappeared from sight. They permitted themselves another look at the embroidered regal “H” that graced the center of the table where the most powerful citizens of Galilee would soon be gathered. Congratulate him for the fine artistry with which he and his family graced the palace of Herod on this special day until I can personally do so. please send my condolences to your father for his injury. one could not help but remember its humble beginnings.” he concluded with another bow and turned his attention to the affairs of the festivities. It was good to know Akil valued the work even though he may not have appreciated the God-given talents needed to complete such a task. As Samuel contemplated the upcoming event. and others looked to him with respect—or was it fear? The servants surrounding Akil awaited his familiar bark of instructions or the loud beat from his hand claps that spoke a language they seemed to understand. All glory and honor was given to God for making it all possible. It was agreed Akil’s words brought satisfaction and relief to them all. “Young Yaron Ben-David. He seemed calm while under pressure. Akil bowed from the waist. the extravagance and 121 . Papa would be thankful his instructions had been followed so completely and his prayers answered so perfectly. Samuel. It brought great pleasure knowing the items were appreciated and valued. Watching each item being placed in its designated spot. With almost army-trained precision. he believed others placed a different value on the items they made.Festive Illusions military officer Samuel had ever seen. Judith. Turning his dark face in Samuel’s direction. The emblem was strategically placed as a reminder to all. Akil had every right to have leather straps beat their backs if his orders were not carried out implicitly the first time. The BenDavid family’s meager home business housed the items.
The nagging and harassment of some extremely spoiled and bored wives would bring some men to the party. although Herod Antipas might be none the wiser. He imagined that the influential guests invited to the celebration would indeed be amazed by the flaunting of Herod’s wealth as he sought to prove his sufficiency to lead his kingdom. As they rubbed elbows with the richest people in the known world. Some would indeed be impressed. all the efforts in the world would not impress or convince them of Herod’s leadership skills. Given what people were saying in the marketplace of late. With rumors of a potential war with his first wife’s father. they hoped to find business connections or new clients for export or import trade. the governor who wanted to be made Herod Antipas the king. If the gossip mill was correct. as he pondered the purpose of the celebration and the rumors that were stirred as a result from it. according to reports by some of the women who had overheard the rich women talking on more than one occasion.Danc ing wit h Jesus excellent craftsmanship was meant as a compliment to its benefactor and a means to extol the success of the influential governor. some military officials had major concerns about his talent for war. 122 . but they knew he lacked his father’s gift of diplomacy. The rumors also mentioned how some dignitaries had another agenda for attending the party. these items were designed to enhance the status of the sometimes insecure Herod Antipas. For others. regardless of Herod’s obvious display of success and wealth. Their reasons for being at the birthday party were for fact-finding purposes only. Herod the Great. some scandalous gossipers reported. no matter what. Some men had said that the military leaders judged Antipas as cunning as his father. this celebration would meet with a variety of opinions. Others guests had no hidden agenda at all and wanted to come to the celebration because they never missed a royal party. If the rumors were true. these opinions would not change. Samuel thought to himself.
Festive Illusions Taking a final look at the table coverings and the other items sown by the Ben-David family. he knew no one could say with any degree of accuracy at this time. Something told him the latter would be more true. and they had been taught to give credit where credit was due. God had blessed their family with talent. Samuel was once again truly amazed at their beauty. 123 . Pondering whether they should be complimented by the honored place the needlework occupied or be wary that it was to be used as a prop in a well-rehearsed and devious play.
a fragile. wide eyes. exotic smells. This celebration must indeed be an extremely special occasion to warrant such effort and expense. which afforded them an opportunity to see another section of the palace which they might never be allowed to see again. They observed how wildly chaotic everything looked while everyone darted to and fro. The grand banquet hall was filled with an enormous flurry of activity. young slave. and lavish preparation. He led them in a different direction from the way they had come. was assigned the task of quickly escorting them from the banqueting hall. 125 . Judith and Abia had long speculated from the safety of their shared bedroom what was behind the walls of the palace and what sights were held there. Jahi.C H A P T E R 1 5 Lost in Beauty Samuel’s elbow nudged Judith and Abia to indicate it was time to go back home. Abia felt thankful for the headpiece that covered and protected her inquisitive. perhaps 18 years old. fearful. Along the way.
all-seeing eyes of Akil. Giant marble columns stood as guards along the promenade between the banqueting hall and the royal throne room. She knew her countless number of demands and itemized lists would be carried out without excuse or hesitation. He had personally been assigned the overseeing of this highly important occasion. 126 . by appearances only. and he must once again demonstrate that his wisdom and knowledge of such pageantry was invaluable. Jahi made a sudden quick turn into a small. decided on a short cut from the promenade to the royal gardens. hidden hallway leading directly into the gardens. It was then that Judith tripped and hit her head on the hard surface of the beautiful mosaic floor. Akil may have agreed with their unvoiced assessment of chaos. So determined to leave the palace and to obey Akil. Was it chaotic? Yes. It was his hope to be rid of them as quickly as possible and escape from the dark. warning him they had lingered perhaps a little longer than was necessary. Jahi was visibly shaken by his master’s voice and made greater effort to remove them from the room. The mousy servant.Danc ing wit h Jesus “Be gone!” Akil’s voice yelled to Jahi. Jahi. She also depended on Akil’s discretion and his willingness to keep her little secrets. Samuel matched the servant’s steps leaving Judith and Abia some distance behind. the two seemed to have forgotten the two girls as their long legs pushed forward. despite his increasing age. His impeccable taste and his subtle flattery made Akil Herodias’ favorite. This birthday was planned with as much strategy and precision as any battle of the esteemed Roman military quests. It took a few moments for Judith and Abia to realize Samuel and Jahi were nowhere to be found. With so much preparation still to be attended to and every one of Herodias’ details to be obeyed. The beautiful billowing fabric cascading from each side of the high arches caught their attention.
Lost in Beauty Suddenly. Judith’s cries of pain were blocked by the sound of the trumpets. Judith’s eyes were filled with pain and regret as she stared helplessly at Abia. The trumpets and the guards reminded her of the precarious position they found themselves in. As fear gave way to curiosity. Wildly. If discovered. 127 . preventing her from appreciating their circumstances. Judith was in shock from either the trauma to her head or from fear. Abia quickly realized they had been given choice seats for viewing the whole birthday celebration. The guests were beginning to spill into the hallway blocking the route. begging for forgiveness. Judith and Abia were unable to escape. With a quick wink and a benevolent smile of understanding. Abia decided to remain still for the time being. and it would prevent unwanted attention. The columns of stone to their backs and a veil of beautifully sheer cloth to their front became their cage. the position could not be taken for granted. the trumpeters’ short blasts announced to all that the festivities were about to begin. To stay put seemed the safest course of action. Like two birds in a proverbial trap. An eternity of time seemed to pass before their breath could slowly return to normal and be exhaled behind the safety of the beautiful silk enclosure. Heaven only knew what would become of them or their family. she had discovered she was more adventurous than Judith by nature. All hope slowly drained from Abia as realization dawned—the two were nowhere to be found. In a split second. Pain and panic kept Judith’s eyes closed. Abia’s emotions were a strange mix of excitement and dread. Although it was an incredible vantage point from which to see all the festivities. making it impossible to run. Abia whispered sisterly reassurance. Abia’s eyes tried to scope the massive hallways and giant rooms for the familiar outline of her brother. and the trembling frame of Jahi. Since Abia’s healing.
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Abia’s mind meandered from apprehension to fear to excitement and back again. Sometimes the soft groans of pain from Judith sounded like pounding drums to her panic-stricken ears, assuring her their discovery was imminent. As she looked into her sister’s eyes, Abia saw more pain than her mouth had expressed. Compassion gripped her as she helped her to lie on the cool marble floor and gathered her as close as possible. “Help, hide, heal, and protect us, God,” became their whispered, corporate prayer. Soon His peace flooded their hearts, and they gained confidence from the knowledge that their prayers had indeed been heard. They were safe, at least for the time being. Judith found her voice as the cool marble added some relief to her headache. “I’m so sorry, Abia. It is not like me to be so clumsy and awkward, but my eyes were drawn upward enthralled by the fabrics and colors,” she said with embarrassment reddening her cheeks. Momma and Papa had said of Judith that her face was always turned Heavenward, as if she were expecting a holy kiss. Abia was sure their parents would not be at all surprised when they heard of this mishap and that the cause was from the tilt of Judith’s head. Their Momma had trained and modeled for the two of them how to pray, to worship God in everything they did, to love His Word, and to live lives with gratitude. Dancing had once again become Abia’s favorite expression of worship and praise to God. She had discovered since being healed that she was not overtly athletic, but had a certain grace and agility inherited from a long lineage of dancers among their people. They heard the age-old stories of Miriam and King David from childhood. Dancing in the Ben-David family was as natural as prayer; in fact, they had been taught they were one and the same. Abia’s heart used to ache when those old stories were told, fearing she would never be able to join in the dance herself. God knew the desire of her heart and had given back to her what she had longed for.
Lost in Beauty
One by one, the long processional of lords, military commanders, political dignitaries, and other leading men of the region was announced to Herod Antipas and his wife, who were assembled in the great throne room. Herod Antipas and Herodias were pretentiously seated on two incredibly beautiful regal thrones. The series of marble steps leading to the royal thrones gave the height and appearance of superiority due a king and his queen. From the steps, servants approached and delivered with a bow the lavish birthday gifts from all of the invited guests, starting with the most influential and ending with the least. As each gift offering was made, the dignitary was escorted into the main banqueting hall a short distance away from the great throne room by impressively dressed palace guards and servants. There they were immediately served wine and other delicacies as they waited for the royal couple to join them. The ornate banqueting room was filled with the repeated gold, silver, white, purple, and royal blue color theme Herodias had insisted upon. Wine was already flowing freely by the time the final guests were seated along the low-lying tables. Herod and Herodias had not yet joined their guests, but were admiring the lavish gifts that had been bestowed upon them. Everything from jeweled rings to magnificent horses had been given, with the intention of impressing the governor as well as the other guests. For some, their gifts were no sacrifice at all. They used their gifts with intimidation in mind to create insecurity in Herod Antipas. Those gifts were used to show the immensity of the givers’ own empires and prove how worthy they would be to rule Herod’s lands as well. For others, their gifts were indeed a sacrifice, but nevertheless used as tools to flatter Herod Antipas with the hope of personal gain. In the banqueting hall every servant had been given strict instructions to keep every cup filled with wine and every plate
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filled with deliciously prepared foods. Self-indulgence and overindulgence were the order of the day. With great trumpet blasts the royal hostess and her husband entered the great banqueting hall and viewed their guests with great satisfaction. The night seemed to hold for the royal couple separate, private, and secret pleasures. Herodias stood proudly among the gathered diplomats in the most exquisite red gown Abia had ever seen. In grandiose fashion she carefully delivered her well-rehearsed speech. She thanked the esteemed guests and complimented them for their loyalty and allegiance to her husband, Herod. It sounded as smooth and as sweet as the incredible desserts they were soon to enjoy from the royal kitchens. After the applause subsided, Herodias then turned her attention to her husband and reassured him much effort had been made to celebrate his birth, and no one was more deserving. This brought forth yet another round of applause from all over the great hall. With a flamboyant sweep of her bare arm, she ended her address by promising Herod Antipas and his esteemed guests greater surprises yet to come.
C H A P T E R
Samuel and Jahi walked as swiftly as possible, all the while trying not to be noticed by the palace guards. Although they had permission to be there, Akil had ordered them out quite awhile ago. Fear and worry made them look guilty. When two Roman soldiers quickly turned in their direction, they panicked and began looking for a place to hide. Jahi’s dark apprehensive stares validated Samuel’s assessment. As if their fears increased simultaneously, they both took action. Hiding behind one of the huge mosaic flowerpots that surrounded the royal gardens, anxiety and distress sank even more deeply into the pit of Samuel’s stomach. As if the soldiers had more pressing issues to attend to than the four of them, they swiftly turned in another direction. As Samuel and Jahi breathed a sigh of relief, they turned their attention behind them to check on Abia and Judith, when fear gripped them like a vise. They were safe from the soldiers, but where were Samuel’s sisters?
Danc ing wit h Jesus
All the blood seemed to drain from both of them at the same time upon discovering the girls had not kept pace with them and were lost from their view. Without a word, both young men jumped to their feet. Just as they turned to retrace their steps, the same two Roman soldiers hastily marched toward them once again. Hiding behind a large statue of some Roman goddess, they hoped it would provide enough protection from the probing eyes of the officers assigned to guarding the massive halls within the palace. They gave another sigh of relief as the soldiers marched past them, only to see the soldiers meet with the other soldiers at the end of the hall. The soldiers were animated with great excitement. In Samuel’s already terrified mind, he imagined this could only mean trouble for them or his sisters. With a quivering voice, Jahi, the servant boy, told Samuel he must follow him out of the palace and let the girls take care of themselves. Samuel’s thoughts were bombarded with concern and dread for Abia and Judith. He knew the heavy responsibility of their safety was his as the eldest and only son in the family. He had known this only too well. It was as if history was repeating itself. He had failed to keep Abia safe many years ago, and it was happening again. Fear of the palace guards and fear for his sisters’ welfare split his heart in two. As if sensing Samuel’s dilemma, Jahi conveyed a plan to bring Samuel to safety outside the royal gate while he returned to search for the missing girls. With a promise to give him any news concerning his sisters, Samuel finally consented to leave the hiding place among the gardens and go to the outer palace gate. Samuel despised himself for not taking better care of his sisters, and his heart grew heavy with worry. Not since his baptism had he felt so heavy-laden with guilt. In that moment of time, he felt completely helpless. Samuel lowered his head as he silently reached out to God in prayer, which was becoming as automatic as his next breath. From the shadows of the setting sun growing dim behind the palace walls, he began his continual intercession on behalf of his sisters to the all-knowing One.
Abia soon discovered. Olympic games. monarch gossip. the freer the tongue became. hiring laborers. From behind Abia and Judith’s hidden confine of beautiful silk. building projects. that the faster the wine consumption was. These topics were among the many buzzing around the gigantic room. The conversations at first centered on kingdom and commonplace concerns: royal taxes.C H A P T E R 1 7 Cloak of Darkness Pewter goblets were in the fists of each guest. 133 . and travel tales. cures for illnesses. which gave its desired effect in record time. the sights and further conversations caught Abia totally off guard. They were constantly being refilled with royal wine. fast horses. Passover preparations. however. they could hear the voices of the richest people in the region. Having been raised with a very strict moral code and with Yaron’s intentional protection from the ways of the world. military triumphs. marketplace debates.
an evil darkness was consuming the inside. The voices of the people became so loud that there seemed to be a need to increase the volume in order to be heard. Hannah’s response to him was in like manner. What Judith and Abia were about to witness was so far removed from their personal experience that the mere thought of it did not have a place in their minds. As night settled outside the massive estate. and with a sweet tenderness that spoke only of love and devotion. In the cloak of such darkness. they might become part of them. Abia and Judith always enjoyed watching them together. her innocence was being ripped from her. with honor. and more wine flowed. Wine. and there was nothing that could be done to keep it from happening. these men and women of wealth and influence now acted no differently than ignorant peasants or animals from the streets. wine. The free movement of the men’s hands on the bodies of the noble women and servants alike gave Abia’s eyes no safe place to alight. if discovered. With no regard to their surroundings or to the company they kept. 134 . Abia’s senses were being invaded by the worldly. the flesh. Fear and dread gripped her from opposing sides. It was not safe to close her eyes because she had to be on high alert in fear of being discovered. making her very much afraid now that they could be more than witnesses to such atrocities. Streams of wine and morsels of food on the corners of the bearded faces of the men were being licked by the women as if they were dogs. All protocol and decorum were washed away and replaced with such acts of the flesh that Abia’s stomach retched from viewing them. coupled with the delectable foods that were now splattered on the beautiful table coverings the family had labored so long to make.Danc ing wit h Jesus Yaron’s tone and manner toward Hannah had always been filled with respect. All the excitement and wonder first felt when they landed in such prime seating for the birthday celebration now died within Abia. and sin in ways never before seen.
Judith could not be moved without causing a disturbance. What she was hearing and seeing made her want to run and escape. Should they try to make a break for it and risk being discovered by the palace guards or stay where they were and risk being found by a drunken guest? One look at the terrible bruising that was already covering Judith’s innocently sleeping face made the decision easy. It was impossible to tell if Judith’s sleep was from a possible concussion or was a way to escape from the horrible sights that were now ever present. Only God could get them out of this. but doing so would only make the two of them victims of such darkness. and in Him Abia would put her trust. Either way. 135 .Cloak of Darkness Abia’s hearing and sight had become as keen as any prey with its predator so near.
The guards listened to no one but their superiors. 137 .C H A P T E R 1 8 Jahi. a lowly slave. They would never give Jahi. Jahi might be given an opportunity to explain. He had seen from times past what happened to slaves who were not where they were supposed to be. Jahi had not dared to share with Samuel that his greatest fear for the two girls was their being found by palace guards. At least if Akil found the girls first. a chance to explain. especially since they had been told to leave quite a while ago. the Helpful Jahi was true to his word to Samuel. What they might do to them was more than he wanted to explain to their brother. He knew he was risking life and limb to look for the two lost girls. Akil would have little or no patience with him or the BenDavid family. He made his way back inside the banqueting hall. He had also seen what happened to uninvited guests of the palace.
he redirected the man’s steps in the opposite direction and away from the girls. Jahi walked as quickly as possible from the banqueting hall. The servants were scurrying around making sure each guest had exactly what he or she desired. Jahi thought he saw something move within the coverings. Jahi bowed from the waist as if giving the man the wine was an honor and privilege. 138 . They were safe enough for now. A fellow slave approached with a platter holding several vessels of wine. His senses were immediately bombarded with the smell of sweet wine and rich food. Just then. According to palace standards.Danc ing wit h Jesus Silently Jahi entered the hall. The intoxicated guest spun around greedily and took the goblet from Jahi’s hand. If one had not been looking. As quickly as possible. but he dared not risk disclosing their position by getting any closer. He was silently glad the girls had found such good covering and had kept their wits about them. the girls’ hiding place would have been virtually impossible to see. Jahi grabbed one of the goblets from the platter and offered it to the inebriated man. the party was going very nicely. The guests seemed to be enjoying themselves with good food and loud conversation. Feeling satisfied that the guest’s needs were met. they were talking to each other so loudly they paid no attention to him. It was just the enticement the man needed. The banquet was all going as planned by Akil and Queen Herodias. Just as he was making his way toward the giant columns arrayed with magnificently colored ribbons streaming from their tops. hoping some means of distraction would present itself. a very drunken man was drawing closer and closer to the place where the girls were hiding. All of the slaves who were assigned to the servants had been warned and threatened with their lives if any complaints were registered. He quickly caught sight of the two girls huddled within the cleverly designed cave. In fact. Jahi made his way toward the man. As he did.
but most importantly of their safety. Jahi quickly explained where the girls were located and how cleverly they were hidden. A sigh of relief was uttered by both Jahi and Samuel when they caught sight of each other. the Helpful He had to find Samuel with the news of his sisters’ precarious position. Jahi’s report was punctuated with an audible prayer from Samuel. thanking God for his sisters’ safety. It was agreed that Samuel would go home to explain the whole incident to his parents. 139 . Jahi assured Samuel there was plenty of time if previous parties were any indication.Jahi.
A storyteller gave a glorified summary of the lives of some guests. Abia hoped Jahi saw their precarious predicament and would then tell Samuel of their location and inform him that at present they were quite safe. Just as suddenly. Abia suddenly saw a mountainous military officer heading in their direction. His sandaled feet marched closer and closer.C H A P T E R 1 9 Dance. paying special tribute to the wealthiest and most powerful. Some of the guests appeared to 141 . The amusements began with a poetry reading packed with high praise for Rome and its loyal subjects. causing the audience to gasp at the athletic physiques of the men and the raw strength they possessed. Gymnasts followed. he spun back around and grabbed a new goblet of wine from the fist of Jahi. the Weapon of Seduction From the corner of her eye. the servant boy who had been assigned to help them from the palace some time ago.
When the leather-bound mallet hit a giant cymbal hanging from a frame. “To my dear husband on the day of his birth and to all our esteemed guests. Herodias’ arms swept outward directing everyone’s gaze to the back of the great banqueting hall. the vagabonds came with comical relief.Danc ing wit h Jesus become exasperated for not having their life stories summarized and others from hearing the amplification of the summaries. Drums began a slow. It seemed as though the audience was expecting dancers and their applause showed they were well pleased. It was soon discovered it was only a ploy to call attention to her and tease the audience. The giant torches flickered with each beat as seven female dancers all in a line slowly made their appearance. Six dancers formed a circle around the single dancer. sensual beat. Each dancer had finger cymbals in each snake-like arm. Occasionally. it directed everyone’s attention to the host’s table. I ask you now to give attention to my next surprise. they moved away from the dancer in the center to give the appearance that the solo dancer was about to join the circle. For your enjoyment and for your pleasure. Just as the last act exited. The birthday guests quickly shouted their disapproval when the single dancer stayed motionless at the hub. All the dancers were dressed in exactly the same toga costumes and matching face veils. Each drum beat brought the barefoot dancers closer and closer to the front and center of the room.” With dramatic flair and staged precision. Hip circles and hip twists followed each click of the cymbals as they traveled around the lone dancer in the middle of the circle. Herodias was about to make a speech. The dancers made an alluring pass around the room to the applause of the eager audience. Just in time. but each wore different vibrant 142 . a huge gong sound was made. I present this dance for your acceptance. The vagabonds did animal tricks and feats of magic to lighten the mood.
Someone could easily grab one end of the fabric and with a strong tug spin her like a top until it fell in a heap at her naked feet. The toga was made from one long ribbon of very sheer orange silk. To unveil a woman in public 143 .Dance. The orange dancer was on the opposite side of the table as she swayed her body closer and closer toward him. the Weapon of Seduction colors. Confident in her power of attraction over him she made accessible the orange veil that covered her face. The dancer’s body shape could easily be seen despite the numbers of times she was wrapped. When the fiery orange dancer left the circle she made her way to the middle of the floor drawing all the attention on her. Almost in a posture of worship. and cost was of no consideration. It looked as if she had been made to stand in the center of the ribbon while two people crisscrossed front and behind her until all that was left were two ends of the silk long enough to hold in her two hands. He was on the outer edge of the table fully reclined four cushions down from Herod Antipas. and cloves from India. Overfed and lightheaded from the wine. nutmeg. The other five dancers lagged behind to provide a protective barrier for the distinct single dancer who was dressed in gold. the golden dancer knelt down with her head touching the floor and arms extended to each side of her head hiding most of her body and all of her face. all the while moving seductively to the clanging of their finger cymbals as they stood in place. he was totally captivated by this new form of entertainment. leaving a very exposed dancer. No element of this celebration was overlooked. With sharp hip movements the orange dancer seductively danced toward one of Herod’s distinguished male quests. The five dancers encircled the gold dancer. The first of the six dancers was dressed in a fiery orange dyed silk toga with a matching orange veil that barely concealed the beautiful face behind it. The silk no doubt came from the Orient and appeared to be extremely expensive. pepper. an extremely wealthy trader of cinnamon.
Danc ing wit h Jesus was considered disgraceful. Tilting her head. this time a military leader. the audience exploded with laughter at his helplessness and her control over him. Without delay he did as was expected. A glistening. who was excited to have the attention of such loveliness. His embarrassment and discomfort was rewarded when she approached him again to amorously stroke his face as if to beg his forgiveness. Pressing her face close to his. she made her way back to the man. she jumped into his arms and became his for the evening. sapphire blue dancer took her leave from the others in the circle. and once again the blue dancer slid her head to 144 . This time she allowed him to forcefully remove the veil uncovering an exotically beautiful woman. and as he did. she enticed him to rip the veil from her face. With the crowd’s approval. Following the pattern of the orange dancer. she dipped out of his reach with low shoulder shimmies. she danced her way toward him and offered him the opportunity to rip the blue veil from her face. forcing the dancer toward him. With fluid movement of hips and hands the blue dancer began to pay close attention to another one of Herod’s esteemed guests. Gradually. Just as he reached his trembling drunken hand out to follow her bidding. The audience exploded with passionate applause as their attention was once again focused on the circle of dancers with the golden dancer in the center. The music alternated from a slow pulsating beat to a hurried fervor and back again as the sapphire blue dancer took the orange dancer’s place front and center of Herod Antipas’ table. he pulled the belt. she leaned her face tantalizingly close to his once again. but he was extremely curious to see the face behind the veil. and the wine he had consumed made him bold. As he stood up bewildered. The man became the center of interest once again as he yanked the orange ribbon belt of her toga she offered up to him. While his sweaty hand held the orange veil. she spun away from him and danced in a wide circle for all to see and inspect her beauty.
As he pulled her closer. the music’s rhythm cycled from a slow pounding to a fevered pitch while her hips pursued the beat. With all eyes upon her. the cherry-red-colored dancer took her place. and he just missed his attempt to unveil her. the deep purple dancer took her place. As she approached Herod Antipas. determined he would not make the same mistake again. the audience just barely got a glimpse of her stunning beauty as he took her in his arms. With exaggerated hip twists and shoulders that shimmied to the rhythmic thump of the drums. Even the drums stopped their feverish beat. and she was his for the evening. the still-veiled gold dancer slowly stood from her prostrate position. the golden-colored dancer stayed motionless until a single drum beat was struck. When the emerald green dancer found her partner and jumped into his arms. The man snatched the sapphire blue veil from her face and reached for the toga ribbon belt at the same time.Dance. which left three remaining dancers to protect the golden dancer in the center of the room. The audience went wild with their applause as his face reddened from the heat of being outwitted by a woman. When the cherry red dancer found her partner and jumped into his arms. 145 . This left the shimmering silver dancer to follow. the Weapon of Seduction the right. Next the dark emerald green dancer replaced the shimmering blue dancer. leaving two dancers to the protect the golden one. everyone became silent. As she completed her tease. The music became smooth and seductive. Dressed completely in a magnificent golden toga with a matching golden silky veil to cover her identity. The audience’s eyes were drawn to the one who had not moved from the center of the room. he reached once again. As the shimmering silver dancer jumped into her partner’s arms. she made her way toward the honored guest’s table.
His anticipation grew as well as the audience’s. she spun the loose ends of the fabric making it coil back around her. he would be the envy of all when he would be given the golden beauty for himself. The crowd exploded with passionate gasps and applause as the golden dancer picked up one end of the ribbon to dance with it. They were caught up with the teasing and seductive game that was being played in front of them. With each of Herod’s attempts to grasp hold of the golden ribbon she spun playfully around and around just in time to keep him from successfully grabbing the end of the fabric.Danc ing wit h Jesus Just as the dance reached its most suspenseful moment. As he tugged the long thread of cloth that covered her body. covering her body once again. Then he would return with her on his arm after a sufficient time had passed. like the other dancers had done. Holding the silk high above her head. The cheers and ovations suddenly came to an abrupt halt when at long last Antipas grasped the end of the long golden ribbon belt of her toga. Everyone seemed to struggle for breath as the anticipation mounted. He would be the talk of all of Rome and Galilee if the honor to unveil her could be done privately leaving his guests to surmise her identity. He expected the best was saved for last. the dancer spun around and around in a circle leaving the golden ribbon to fly skyward when at long last her body was revealed. With a sharp turn she recoiled and exposed herself once again. As each attempt to uncover her was made. the mysterious female offered Herod Antipas the end of the golden silky ribbon belt of her toga instead of the face veil. Glowing with pride. Her bare feet slid from side to side as she slithered closer and 146 . Again and again she offered him the end of the silk. She stood before him naked except for the one thin golden piece of fabric still covering her face. and each time she again avoided his grasp. the audience became wilder with excitement.
Dance. Having been invited to some of the foremost parties of the Roman Empire. As the the silky golden veil fell from Antipas’ hand and the identity of the dancer penetrated the drunken minds of the guests. As the party progressed. He had seen money. It seemed to confirm their acceptance of him in the coveted Roman social society that dominated Galilee. the Weapon of Seduction closer to her prey. stood naked before him as the music abruptly ended. All at once the audience suddenly began to chant. he was exhilarated when they tossed onto the dance floor tokens of their appreciation when each of the dancers’ identities was revealed. The totally astonished Herod Antipas. No one paid any attention to the silky golden veil as it dangled from Antipas’ hand. Salome. Her snakelike arms and hips waved almost hypnotically to the rhythm of the drums as she moved in for the kill. or 147 . as if he possessed a power over her she could not stop. smoldering with sexual passion. It was customary for hired entertainment to be tipped with additional financial favor if the esteemed host or his guests had found the performance exceptional. Salome. The favorable responses of the most powerful men and women from the whole region far exceeded his wildest dreams. “Pull! Pull! Pull!” to encourage Antipas and to indicate to him how ravenous they were to know the identity of the dancer still hidden behind the golden veil. also had an obsessive need for approval and acceptance. The combination of the two events caused an intoxicating response. rings. Herod’s reach had exposed the stunning beauty of his own stepdaughter. This was considered high praise at any social function. which brought extreme satisfaction to his pride. With dramatic flair she glided toward him in meek obedience. the whole assembly exploded in unrestrained applause. none had surpassed this. princess from the royal lineage of Herod the Great. The crowd was silenced as they watched this exotic dance come to its dramatic close.
Getting caught up in the immediate acceptance of his guests. The ground was literally covered with treasures. the audience went wild with enthusiasm and excitement. he could not offer the customary tip. Suddenly. I will give it to you.” Herod bowed gallantly as he swore to her. gradually quieting the enthusiastic audience. he again remarked. Logic fought hard to penetrate through his inebriated state of mind. Everyone was waiting for Herod to respond. and I will give it to you. With that response. a nagging question began to form in his mind.” he paused for the clapping to subside. which increased with each unveiled dancer. your dance has indeed pleased me and the other esteemed guests tremendously. However. With a burst of sobriety. as if all the blood that passionately surged through his veins only moments ago had rapidly stopped. Trinkets of silver and gold would satisfy the performance of a hired dancer. this was like nothing he had ever seen before. 148 . “My dear Salome. “Whatever you ask of me. up to half of my kingdom” he promised. but how did one reward the dance of a princess? All the things that made him puff with pride now came crashing down on him as protocol demanded satisfaction. let alone to appear naked. It was totally scandalous for her to dance in public before an audience with men. “Ask me for whatever you want. as that would insult his stepdaughter in front of the renowned group. His drunken thoughts were saturated with pride as he congratulated himself for being the cause of such an incredible party and having his guests entertained in such a wildly spectacular fashion. a clever plan was conceived. What was he to do? He was totally pleased by Salome’s performance and indeed desired to reward her generously.Danc ing wit h Jesus other jewelry thrown at the feet of performers as signs of approval in the past. To impress his guests. Slowly he lifted his hands.
Herodias replied. and John’s popularity was 149 . There was little else for Herod Antipas to do but nod his agreement. “Is it true you were indeed pleased with my dance and have promised me up to half your kingdom. Salome ran from her mother back to her stepfather. John was a strange man dressed in the wildest of clothes. “The head of John the Baptist. “What shall I ask for.Dance. knowing he could not back down. At long last. having made his previous statement before so many witnesses. and because of his dinner guests. Salome offered no objection when John’s head was requested by her mother. Even through his drunken thoughts. Herod was strangely sorry at the request. She found Herodias and asked of her. Sketchy memories of how he enjoyed listening to John flooded his thoughts.” Immediately. Salome left the dance floor in a naked whirlwind. the Weapon of Seduction No one clapped louder and with more enthusiasm than Herodias. “I want you to give to me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter. and before his guests she said. What was he to do? He had already made an oath. dear…Father?” She hesitated long enough to find the correct title for her uncle. All eyes were again on Herod Antipas. looking from one to the other. he was unwilling to refuse her and be embarrassed. she added her own sadistic part by requiring it to be served on a platter.” Wickedness begets more wickedness. who was now her stepfather. but he seemed sincere when he told Herod of a new King and Kingdom that was out of this world. Mother?” With a ready answer. In fact. The guests’ heads turned back and forth. her plans were finally coming together. It was not unusual for people to want to hear new philosophies and new beliefs.
Herod knew he had little choice. she could have arranged this whole party for such an end. he could not afford any problems or another troublemaker.” 150 . Lust and excitement had created a powerful concoction within the hearts of those attending.Danc ing wit h Jesus growing at an alarming rate. The roar of their drunken voices grew to a fevered pitch. They were enjoying the fine mess Herodias had put Herod into and were anxious to see how he would save face. He was superstitious and fearful that a murdered holy and righteous man could somehow do him harm or at best haunt him for the rest of his days. He had had John arrested to appease Herodias. Had she been so calculating. but he did not want him killed. Each guest had his or her own selfish desire to see Herod Antipas squirm.” he commanded. Antipas knew Herodias had nursed a grudge against John for speaking out against their marriage. The pounding of mugs on the tables expressed the guests’ approval and awakened Herod from his weighty thoughts. “Executioner. Although Herod considered John to be a holy and righteous man. Or was she trying to work through her daughter to secure the land he had inherited from his father. “do as she has requested. He had enough trouble as it was and did not want to risk more. along with his wealth? Or could the answer be both? There were more pressing problems at hand so he could not think of that now.
“No! No! No!” They said in unison. marching soldiers exiting the palace portico with fierce determination could be heard as they made their way toward the palace prison. With a bandage as added support. Just as they found a dark.C H A P T E R 2 0 Silencing the Wilderness Crier Samuel and Yaron finally made it to the great palace gardens. “Not the head of John the Baptist!” Samuel and Yaron cried in disbelief. Yaron insisted upon seeing to the welfare of his daughters. secluded place to rest. no matter the condition of his knee. he and Samuel had wormed their way though the city to find the meeting place Jahi had arranged earlier. Jahi had found his way back to Samuel and reported the latest news from the banqueting hall. 151 .
There was no escaping it. As if in a dream too horrible to mention. How could something she believed to be as beautiful as dance become so wicked? What power of darkness had filled the minds and hearts of the dancers and those in the audience? How could dance be used to reward such evil with someone as good as John the Baptist? The questions that were forming in her brain were vain attempts to cope with what was currently happening. Judith and Abia cautiously stood to their feet. “not John the Baptizer. Their prayers were comprised of protection for John and for the two girls caught up in this horrible drama. As if with one mind. Judith saw the nakedness of the dancer. no. The wild applause and the banging of the goblets on the table had aroused Judith from her pain-filled sleep.” Yaron mournfully cried and painfully added.” “Oh. Samuel and Yaron beat their chests as the horror of the dramatic events played before their eyes. Fear began to grip their hearts like a vise. “My precious daughters.” Her thoughts were whirling. she heard Salome’s demented request. With whispers one had to strain to hear. “My precious friend. What about Judith? What had she seen? What had she heard? Looking down at her sister resting in her lap. Evil was everywhere. hoping the current events would prevent them from being seen by any onlookers. and saw the obedient guards as they marched only a few feet from the two of them.” Abia’s mouth uttered what her mind wanted to deny. but aware that something was definitely wrong. 152 . The reality of the situation and the need to escape collided. she realized Judith was still confused and dazed. Judith and Abia began to pray to God on John’s behalf.Danc ing wit h Jesus Almost immediately the father and the son joined hands and prayed.
but not before they caught glimpse of the familiar embroidered table covering now crudely cradling the head of the prophet. An entry and exit line began to form. he clutched the head of John the Baptist with one fist and grasped the platter that carried John’s head with the other. It seemed to be the same direction the soldiers were taking. From a safe distance. At that moment Jahi grabbed both arms of the two girls from behind and pushed them from harm’s way. “Make way. The executioner’s steps were exaggerated and prideful as he marched past on the way to the prison along with the guards who flanked his sides. As if holding a prized stag. Timing was critical as they left the temporary shelter of hanging ribbons. John. make way!” came the shouts of the soldiers. The guests began to form a long line as they headed for the prison to witness the beheading. the two sisters followed behind. 153 . Within minutes the executioner quickly returned. turning and twisting their way out of the great banqueting hall. morbid curiosity. Their cries caused the guests who had only just left the banqueting hall to press themselves against the cold walls of the great hall. People snaked past them on their way to satisfy their bloody.Silencing the Wilderness Crier Abia had seen Jahi leave from the banqueting hall into a massive corridor on the right.
fear and panic were ready to spew like a bottle of cheap fermented wine. Jewish men tore their clothes and put ashes on their heads as they mourned John.C H A P T E R 2 1 Days of Darkness and Light The whole city tried desperately to recover from the shock and horror the incident had brought. New believers of “The Way” were confused and apprehensive. Would they be next? What was to happen to them? Would John’s message die with him? Rumors sprang forth from all directions. “He is John the Baptist who has been raised from the dead.” some said. Everyone seemed to be in a frenzy of uncertainty. Others said. who was one of their own. Reports were coming to him from people with differing opinions of Jesus’ true identity. Roman soldiers were at high alert. “Elijah has 155 . Herod Antipas heard the reports about Jesus and the miracles He performed and was very frightened and very confused by them.
Jesus insisted the people did not have to go 156 . The mass gathering of people continued until it was evening. He was grieved at heart because of the tragic death of His cousin and because wicked rulers over Israel had killed yet another prophet sent by God. Jesus departed from them all to be alone for a while. The Jewish people were like children. and Jesus and His apostles were left with no time to eat. as if suddenly orphaned by violent acts of war. including Jesus. He went to them and healed the sick. but was unable to do so because Jesus would not give him audience. He had been used by satan to do his evil work and was now left to his own shame and self-destruction. A short time later. Of this he had no clue. Who would take care of them? What were they to do? When Jesus returned.Danc ing wit h Jesus come to us. comforted the hurting. He saw the multitudes arrive in search of Him the day after John was beheaded. It was said that John’s disciples came and took away John’s body to give him a proper burial. so who is this man I hear such things about?” He wanted to see Jesus for himself. His apostles came back to Jesus to ask Him to send the people away so they could go into the villages and buy food for themselves. Jesus advised the apostles to get away by themselves for some rest. and consoled each grieving heart. So they got in a boat and went off to a remote place by themselves for a while. Everyone. When Jesus was informed of John’s death. Herod said. or another prophet who lived long ago has risen from the dead!” His own guilty conscience and demonic superstition left Herod with no comfort. The people were coming and going in a state of violent emotional upheaval. wondered what impact John’s death would have on the people and what effect it would have for Jesus and His ministry. “I cut off John’s head. Jesus was filled with a deep love and was moved by compassion for the people.
Five thousand men. Great crowds of people were gathering in the gardens. Time seemed to pour forth as slowly as honey on a cold morning. the mysteries of that night unfolded as each piece of a puzzle began to form a picture. As they gathered around the warm fire. The disciples took the pieces and fed the multitudes. searching every face in the crowd for his. hoping to catch the first glimpse of the murdered victim. leaving 12 baskets full of fragments.Days of Darkness and Light away to get something to eat. were fed that day. That fateful night. He blessed and broke the bread and fish. For several days. Samuel and Yaron ushered him in with grateful hearts as well. never dreaming what would happen next. The soldiers marched past them on their way to the prison for the head of John the Baptist. it seemed as if everyone in the family silently agreed not to speak of Herod’s birthday celebration. Jesus had the people sit down in the grass as He looked up to Heaven. Jesus said the people reminded Him of sheep without a shepherd. With a humble bow. The disciples looked dismayed at the five loaves and two fish they had with them. Jahi’s eyes portrayed his thankfulness that everyone was safe and together again. When Jahi appeared at their door. and John’s beheading. the entrapment of Judith and Abia. everyone could ignore the subject no longer. Yaron saw the executioner coming from the prison and motioned for Samuel to take advantage of the chaotic situation to 157 . Samuel and Yaron had anxiously awaited word from Jahi. If only the emotional trauma could be healed as quickly as Yaron’s knee. besides women and children. One day eventually gave way to another as the Ben-David family tried to put together the very perplexing riddle of what they had had the misfortune of witnessing. and He immediately started to guide and teach them.
They did not seem to notice he was a slave. 158 .Danc ing wit h Jesus enter the palace in search of Judith and Abia. He brought many others into the faith within the confines of the palace walls. and the tears of the whole family glistened their recognition and gratitude of the fact. but he wondered if it had something to do with the man who had died and the Jewish man. whom they followed. Jahi became a frequent visitor to the BenDavid family. His station in life did not change. It was behind one such pillar that they found Jahi. As a result. Jahi had risked his own life to help them. Jesus. he remained a slave in the household of Herod. In the days to come. When finally Abia saw her father and brother. but for the first time in his whole life. he determined to find out more about this family and the God they served. they inched onward. Jahi. They befriended him and taught him about Jesus. she surrendered to the blissful darkness that had threatened to overtake her time and time again. but saw him as a man. became a believer in Jesus. Jahi waited with them as the crowd moved back into the banqueting hall following the wicked processional. As he made his way toward the door. so as fast as Yaron’s throbbing knee would allow. safely holding his two very frightened wards. he was free. He did not know why this family was so different from others he had known. Giant pillars of marble became their refuge for occasional rest and to ensure their further safety. Jahi’s small stature seemed to gain size as the family’s heart appreciation reached his. Jahi carried Judith and Samuel carried Abia to the safety of their home. It was discovered that certain areas of the palace were unguarded. Never had Jahi been treated with such kindness and respect.
Papa told them that all things seem to grow bigger in the dark and that they should not keep their feelings hidden in darkness. and 159 . Judith and Abia found it became easier to talk about the things they had seen as time traveled onward. Judith and Abia discovered that only God can heal wounds. but rather surrender them to the light. Abia had dreamed of a woman who was very wicked dressed in gold who danced. Abia’s thoughts were consumed with questions that could not be explained naturally. and behaviors witnessed that frightful night fit into both of those categories.C H A P T E R 2 2 So They Can Be Sound in Their Faith It is said that time heals all wounds. smells. As a five-year-old girl. Why had she been warned in a dream of such a dancer 12 years ago? For what purpose did God have her witness such evil. and time only makes one gradually forget the enormity of the memory of the wounds. The memories of the sights.
They had witnessed history in the making. Samaria. and the commonplace—but what a difference a few hours could make. These were days of great distress. The political and religious upheavals continued in all of Galilee. and the sting of their history. Neighbor was turning against neighbor and family against family. people tried to make sense of their circumstances. The old stories of the past and the retelling of tremendous historical events of their ancient Hebrew ancestors had been painted in such heroic and sterile ways. Every event on that dreadful day had some type of natural explanation to satisfy normal intelligence. and it was not a pretty picture to them anymore. selfindulgent people whose only ambition was lust for power and who sought that power by political gains. and other nearby regions. Many accounts of Jesus were being spread far and wide. Time had far removed the pain. Sides were being drawn. military strength. Just as in the days of old. To say the Ben-Davids were the same after surviving such an event would only be a lie. they had been caught up in a deadly political game played by selfish. Incredible stories of Jesus’ teachings and miracles spread like wildfires. However. but also days of fantastic miracles and extraordinary healings. financial means. Judea. The day started out with the predictable. Yaron explained to his family that. Everyone tried to bring order in the midst of such chaos. all she had were questions with very few answers. The fiercely-guarded innocence of the world in which they lived came crashing down on that day. the expected. those events had unfurled just as the ones they experienced had. One could not go to the 160 . Perea.Danc ing wit h Jesus why could she not get the wicked dance out of her mind? For now. unfortunately. the blood. A distinct line was being drawn that separated the followers of “The Way”—those who were believers in Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah in accordance with John’s teaching—and those who thought it to be complete heresy. or social clout.
some of the Jews picked up stones to stone Jesus. yet He was confident in the authority God had given Him. His stories were the topic of heated debate for the skeptical. He brought glory to God and took no credit for His deeds. Lazarus was raised from death by Jesus. and deaf people were restored. and the change enacted in people’s hearts was the greatest miracle of all. His style of leadership was gentle. Angered by the growing numbers who followed Jesus because of the miracles He was doing and because He dared to say He was God’s Son. and God’s grace were being discussed. There were even stories of demoniacs being healed from the demons that possessed them. His miracles were spectacular. He proclaimed Himself to be the Son of God. Jesus walked humbly with people and treated both the rich and poor with dignity and respect. They became enraged and alleged that Jesus had made fools of the common people because they knew nothing about Jewish law. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.So They Can Be Sound in Their Faith marketplace or the synagogue without Jesus and the disciples being discussed at great length. Forgiveness. Jesus had already fed 5. 161 . He confronted evil or evil deeds. Others attempted to put Him in jail. when He called her His dancer. Blind. The stories were unbelievable. The Pharisees and Sadducees were challenged and defeated by Jesus’ voice of authority and power. Jesus walked on the water. He could forgive and heal. they would never be taken in by such a charlatan. He modeled how people are to serve and have a servant’s heart toward others. lame. In all He did. Jesus defended women and healed small children. Being experts. yet people had seen with their own eyes the healings and other impossible feats. Of this fact.000 with five loaves and two fish. Abia was very much aware since He had healed her almost a year ago beside the dusty road to Jerusalem. love. but when necessary. He was in constant communion with God the Father and taught others how to pray. but fuel for the flame of the faithful.
He predicted His own betrayal and troubled times ahead. While Jesus healed people on the Sabbath and taught about spiritual blindness. 162 . Jesus and His doctrines made many secret and blatant enemies. Followers of Jesus heard strange reports that Jesus had spoken of His own death on three different occasions. While Jesus stilled the raging sea. all thoughts of Jesus dying seemed far removed because He brought so much excitement. The Ben-David family followed Jesus. love. and grace everywhere He went. and second coming. Everyone began to notice the lack of tolerance many had toward Jesus and His new teachings. one story after another. healing. He foretold His own death. either increasing people’s faith or confirming to others a travesty. they went to hear Him. resurrection. They were constantly astounded at the love and compassion of His ministry. Jesus was rejected by many. To the apostles He explained that only His departure would allow the Helper or the Holy Spirit to come to convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.Danc ing wit h Jesus The most religious of men quarreled over the Kingdom of God and God’s judgment that was to come. Yet. others bickered over human traditions and customs versus God’s Law. and wherever He taught publicly. Jesus began to warn those who followed His teaching that there would be danger ahead for them. people argued about whether Jesus was a prophet or if He was the Christ. although He taught about God the Father as a loving father waiting on the prodigal son’s return. the miracles continued. So it went. Yaron and Samuel sat under His teaching at the synagogue. Yet. Death threats were an almost daily occurrence. He reassured them that they would not be left as orphans. yet He held such authority that even the most powerful trembled and were amazed.
Simon. Mary approached Jesus with a pint of very expensive spikenard. Mary and Martha. she wiped His feet with her hair as an act of worship and appreciation 163 . She had heard Jesus tell of His death and believed Him. Martha helped serve the food at the dinner party. They were very close friends with Jesus. Jesus went to Bethany. although some of the disciples refused to accept what He was saying. was giving a dinner in Jesus’ honor. She poured the perfume on Jesus’ feet to prepare Him for burial.C H A P T E R 2 3 The Sounds of Obedience It had been almost two years since John the Baptist’s death. were attending. the Leper. and it was approaching Jesus’ third Passover since His ministry had begun. a few days before the Passover Feast. and their home was His whenever He was in Jerusalem. In the springtime. having completed their meal. a fragrant oil used for burial. While the men were reclining. Lazarus and his two sisters. While the sweet smell filled the whole house.
they were to say. Yaron and Hannah took their place along the long dusty road that led into Jerusalem. criticized Mary for being so wasteful when the poor could have used the money. having heard about Jesus’ plans to come back to Jerusalem. They wanted to see Him and Lazarus. one of Jesus’ disciples. also wanted Jesus dead. A large number of Jews heard Jesus was in Bethany. However. whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Many people had heard Jesus was traveling the two miles from Bethany to attend the Passover Feast and were excited about His coming. The Ben-David family. although he took money from the money bag regularly. and Caiaphas.” When Jesus arrived. Judas Iscariot. having been a married woman for over a year. the high priest of the Jews. Caiaphas did not want Jesus to be arrested yet because of the large numbers of people who were gathering in Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. Judas’ heart became enraged.Danc ing wit h Jesus for raising her brother from the dead and as a way to express her love and devotion to Him. “The Lord has need of it. and he plotted to do evil to Jesus. He feared a riot would break out in protest if any action was taken against Him. Judith. If anyone objected. Jesus reprimanded him and said that what she did was a beautiful thing. Jesus told two of His disciples to go ahead of Him and told them exactly where to get a donkey for Him to ride as He entered Jerusalem. The leading priests made plans to kill Lazarus. arrived just in time to be among those who had the privilege of honoring Jesus as He entered the city. was there with her beloved Abraham and the rest of 164 . Many people were deserting the Jews and starting to believe in Jesus because of the great miracle that had been done to Lazarus. It seemed to him the whole world was following Jesus. He found the people on the road waiting to pay tribute and to honor Him. and he was extremely jealous.
but said it was indeed unfortunate about Jahi. At long last. was busy spreading the good news about Abraham and Judith’s baby. but he was not the only friend of the Ben-Davids who had recently died. Samuel came with his parents. Regrettably.The Sounds of Obedience the Ben-Daniel family. Judith’s mother-in-law. who would be born in the early winter. had been murdered by another palace slave who took great offense when Jahi tried to speak to him about Jesus. before he died. others did not come for other reasons. Jahi and Malachi would have loved to be a part of today’s festivities to honor Jesus and were sorely missed. Jahi. but unfortunately many did not gather. and she was soon to become the newest member of the Ben-David family in the summer. He thanked Yaron and his family for the spectacular fabric craftsmanship. reported that he had found boldness to speak about Jesus to others. Jahi. The family was very much saddened by the news of Jahi’s death. who had been paying him a visit to share with him some warm soup and fresh bread. and the payment for their hard work was more than generous. Akil also brought bad news. for he was an adequate slave. Mora. and he even witnessed to Akil about Jesus. Samuel had asked Mary to become his wife. There were a great number of people who had been healed by Jesus’ touch who did not bother to come to welcome Jesus back into the city. Scanning the roadside the Ben-Davids could see many familiar faces standing with palm tree branches in hand waiting for Jesus to pass by. Akil admitted to being indifferent and wanted no part of religion in any form. 165 . but soon found his place beside Abia’s best friend. paid the Ben-Davids a visit to give to Yaron what was owed to him for his services. the slave to King Herod and a beloved friend of the Ben-David family. Yaron’s old friend Malachi was found dead in his bed by Hannah and Yaron. head social planner to the palace. Akil. Mary.
“Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!” the people began to shout out in unison. Benjamin. the Messiah!” The crowds watched Jesus enter the kingdom of Jerusalem as though He were the King and they His loyal subjects. some of the sick began to shout as well. Some shouted. came running down the road ahead of Jesus shouting. The sound was incredibly loud and spirited. seated on the back of a donkey.” it became apparent that another one of her dreams had come true. By openly coming into the city on a donkey.Danc ing wit h Jesus As the crowd gathered. Jesus was now a marked man. hoping Jesus would reach out to touch them and heal them as He passed. “I’m healed!” while others shouted “I have been made whole!” As Abia worshiped Jesus with her dancing and people on the streets were getting healed of their “hurts. This event had been prophesied by the prophet Zechariah hundreds of years ago. With tambourines in both hands lifted high into the air. “He’s coming! He’s coming!” Abia could hold back no longer. As He crossed the threshold onto the street paved by the coats and palm branches of His followers. They danced to the shouts and songs of jubilation as Jesus approached. she began to spin and twirl in pure delight with the approach of her healer and Lord. Jesus. The Jewish leaders detested Him for the supposition that He was the fulfillment of Zechariah’s 166 . Suddenly. Samuel’s friend. The sick and the afflicted lined the streets as well. Some of the other girls joined her as they made a giant circle in the center of the road. Other followers planned to pave the street with their coats to honor Him. “Praise God! God bless the One who comes in the name of the Lord! God bless the King of Israel! Blessed be the name of our Lord. some planned to wave palm tree branches high in the air when Jesus passed them by.
The moneychangers’ and merchants’ stalls and tables were placed in the Temple in such a way as to intentionally block the entry of the Gentiles. would come and be with all people who believed in Jesus. He taught mysteries about how He was in the Father and the Father was in Him. Those who knew Jesus’ character and will could ask the Father anything by using Jesus’ name. They had made the Temple into a robbers’ den. priests. Jesus said He was going back to the Father in Heaven. or non-Jews. and shortchanged foreigners who came to the Temple for worship. The flame of hatred and resentment growing within the hearts of the most religious burned uncontrollably. they would receive if they loved Him and kept His commandments. and He did not want His people to be afraid. as in days of the past. With righteous indignation Jesus overturned the tables and declared. and they frantically looked for the only outlet acceptable—the death of Jesus. who came to worship God. Jesus cried tears of sadness and spoke about Jerusalem’s future for having rejected their King and the salvation He offered them. The Helper would teach about all things and bring Jesus’ teachings to the believers’ remembrance. Jesus was leaving Earth to go back to his Father. but they rejected Him. But the Spirit of Truth. When Jesus entered the Temple. “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations!” Throughout the time of the Feast. another Helper who was equal to Jesus. Jesus entered the Temple daily and taught all who had gathered many things.The Sounds of Obedience prophecy. He began to drive out those who were making lots of money. They charged an extra Temple tax. God had not rejected them. At the sight of Jerusalem and the people He loved. No longer would only prophets. and kings have access to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit of Peace was to be 167 . He said that those who believed would do greater works of healings than the miracles they had seen Him do. overcharged for sacrificial animals.
but in a day yet to come. Not knowing where to prepare the Passover meal. Jesus’ third Passover meal since His ministry began approached. and He would convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. In fact. Jesus modeled the sacrificial love and service that were requirements of the new Kingdom of God. Jesus met with His disciples in the upper room to celebrate. they should follow him into the house he would enter. He replied by instructing them to go into the city where a man would meet them carrying a pitcher of water. He served warnings that the world would hate those who testified about Him and who followed His teachings. He showed Peter and John into a large. and they could know the love the Father has for them. Jesus knew that it was time for Him to leave this world and go 168 . and He sent Peter and John ahead to prepare the Passover meal for Him and His disciples. belonged to. But the Holy Spirit would keep believers from stumbling. just as they hated Him. Jesus would be in the people. They would have what He had. He had made the Father’s name known to the people and expressed how the Father loved Him. and had faith in Jesus. for Jesus would overcome the world and the rulers of the world. they asked Jesus. He encouraged everyone to take courage. He said those who killed the followers of Jesus would believe they were offering a service to God. Although in the world there would be great tribulation and troubles. Because women were usually the ones who carried water. it was easy for them to spot the man. furnished upper room of his house where he left them to prepare the meal. His friends. Jesus prayed for Himself and for His disciples and all future believers. All things the Father had given to Jesus would be given to those who loved.Danc ing wit h Jesus given to those who believed in Him and loved Him. This gift of the Holy Spirit could not come until Jesus laid down His life for Jews and Gentiles alike. He would guide and direct followers of Jesus into all truth.
Peter could not believe he would do such a thing. and He told the three He felt His soul was so deeply grieved that He 169 . Jesus told Judas He knew he was the one who was to give Him over to the chief priests and officers. It was a place often frequented by Jesus. His blood would be a covenant for the forgiveness of sins. The conversation seemed painful to Him. Peter would be used to strengthen them against the temptation to deny Jesus themselves. Throughout the meal Jesus spoke with an urgency and passion as never before. who had offered to pay him 30 pieces of silver for his consent and help. They left the upper room and went for a walk to a peaceful spot among a grove of olive trees at the foot of the Mount of Olives. Such things were mysteries. and not one admitted it. He shared with them the bread. the idea that someone would betray Jesus seemed ridiculous. yet He washed their feet with a towel before they ate. pledging that he was willing to go to prison and face death if need be on behalf of Jesus. as if there was not enough time to convey all the love in His heart. saying that it was His body and that the wine was His blood. Jesus also told Peter that he would deny knowing Jesus three times before the rooster crowed that day. After the Passover meal was over. Jesus was very disturbed and troubled. and John were asked to go with Him a little farther. He told Peter that He had prayed for him that his faith would not fail and that shame would not keep him from returning back to his brothers. Jesus gave thanks for the bread and wine. Jesus asked the disciples to sit down and wait for Him until He finished praying. and a place He sought when He wanted to get away to pray. His body would be given up for the benefit of all. Peter. Jesus told the 12 that one of them would betray Him.The Sounds of Obedience back to the Father in Heaven. it was called the Garden of Gethsemane. Of course. the group sang hymns of praise to God for His goodness and faithfulness. James.
Groans and screams could be heard in the darkness of the night as He fell to the ground overcome with emotions. Peter. and along with them came a Roman cohort of soldiers. was with them. and adopted. They took Him to Annas. He did not want to be crucified if another way was possible. and John were instructed to pray and keep watch while Jesus went a little farther away to pray alone. At that point.” Jesus said. saved. who had been high priest of the Jews until the Roman 170 . one of the 12 disciples.Danc ing wit h Jesus was to the point of death. and lanterns. Dying was an important legal action that had to be done in order for God’s people to be ransomed. When He rose from His prayers. An angel from Heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. The mob had been sent by the leading Jewish priests and other leaders of the people. reconciled. “Oh. let this cup of suffering be taken away from Me. “My Father. only to find them asleep. This kiss was the signal Judas used to betray Jesus. for it was already night. and he greeted Jesus with a kiss. Jesus’ blood would satisfy and cover the sins of the world.” Jesus knew what lay ahead of Him and the horrifying death facing Him. all the disciples fled and deserted Him just as Jesus had prophesied earlier. My Father. conceding His will to the Father’s. He expressed them to His Father. if it is possible. Judas. Jesus went back to His disciples and awakened them once again to tell them of the approaching mob of people armed with swords. clubs. but the agony continued as He prayed. justified. not My will. the commander. James. Three times Jesus went back to His disciples. unable to keep their eyes open. For more than three hours Jesus prayed fervently until His sweat became like drops of blood covering His face and dripping upon the ground. The Roman cohort. but Yours be done. redeemed. and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and had Him tied up.
the longawaited Jewish king. Jesus was then brought before the Sanhedrin. took his place. or did others tell you about Me?” Pilate said to Jesus. insisting Jesus be executed for His crimes. Many Jews still considered him to be their leader.The Sounds of Obedience government removed him from the position and his son-in-law. he began to trump up false evidence to frame Jesus. So You are a king?” “It is as you say. Jesus was sent to Pilate badly beaten by orders of Caiaphas. Caiaphas. “I am not a Jew. Caiaphas was said to have organized a plot to kill Jesus. “Are you saying this on your own initiative. The president of the Sanhedrin was the high priest. Caiaphas sent Jesus to Pontius Pilate. the Roman governor of Judea. the supreme court for the Jews. He passed Jesus on to his son-in-law. criminal. and religious cases. Caiaphas charged Jesus with blasphemy and for claiming He was the Messiah. so they took Jesus to Annas first. Jesus remained silent when Caiaphas interrogated Him. only the Roman government could. but My Kingdom is not of this world. For that reason. Caiaphas. the supposed leader of God’s people. Jesus answered him. am I? Your own people and chief priests delivered You to me. Annas found no grounds for charging Jesus of any crime during a pretrial hearing late that same night. “Are you King of the Jews?” Pilate asked Jesus. When that did not work. Caiaphas was one of the high priests who was afraid of the growing influence Jesus had on the people who were following Him. He thought he would punish 171 . It was made up of 70 men picked among fellow Jews to handle civil. But the Sanhedrin could not execute convicted criminals. Caiaphas. Pilate proclaimed to the Jews who were gathered there that Jesus was not guilty of any crime.” Jesus answered Pilate. demanding Jesus say whether He was the Messiah.
Herod Antipas. and put a purple robe upon His back. Herod further mocked Jesus by clothing Him in a royal purple robe. 172 . so when he had heard that Jesus was a Galilean. one prisoner would be released from a death sentence.Danc ing wit h Jesus Him and then release Him. the crowd picked the criminal to be released instead of the innocent One who had healed. Not wanting to be the one to take the blame for Jesus’ death. He thought Jesus could entertain him with His miracles and wonders. Herod Antipas. Pilate had Jesus scourged with a three-pronged whip. and as was customary. When given a choice between Jesus and a criminal. Jesus suffered again at the hands of the Roman soldiers. saying. but Jesus gave him no answers. and loved them. “Hail. Pilate. questioned the true King with many words. the want-to-be-king. he gave orders for Him to be sent to Herod Antipas. in whose jurisdiction Jesus belonged. but the crowd’s insatiable appetite for death was set. crucify Him!” the crowd insisted. decided to put the responsibility on the people instead. who made fun of Him. Before being sent to Herod Antipas. With the same dramatic flair used at his birthday banquet. finally sending Him to Herod. and beat Him. and he sent Him so dressed back to Pilate. encouraged. They put a reed in Jesus’ right hand and then mockingly knelt down before Him. Pilate wanted no part of sentencing an innocent man. however. It was Passover time. King of the Jews!” Then they spat on Him and took from His hand the reed and began to beat Him on the head. had wanted to see Jesus for quite some time. They ripped the purple robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him. the very one who had John the Baptist killed. So Herod Antipas and his men of war treated Him with contempt. “No. twisted together a crown of thorns to put on His head. mocked Him.
“Behold. Sprinkled within the hate-filled crowd were many fellow believers in Jesus—fighting their way through the crowds of people who had come to mock and disrespect Jesus. they got there just in time to find that the soldiers were on their way to take Jesus back to Pilate. God had allowed animals to die in their place. they could hardly believe their eyes. The crucifixion was horrible and so tragic. The men in the marketplace had gathered together outside the gates of the royal palace when they heard Jesus had been taken to Herod Antipas. Desiring to find out for themselves what was going on and to lend any type of support they could for Jesus. even if it meant witnessing once again the horrors of another innocent man being slain. blood had to be shed. Samuel and Yaron were horror-struck when they recognized the now faded and blood-soaked royal purple robe as the one they had sewn for Herod Antipas a few years earlier. They were helpless against the military force that flanked both sides of Jesus and could do nothing but watch Him pass.The Sounds of Obedience The early morning streets were thronged with people running chaotically in all directions to report to their families and friends what was happening to Jesus. But the sacrificial system was not enough. The penalty for sin is death. along with about ten others. so Jesus had come as a spotless Lamb. they felt they had to be near to Jesus. a sacrifice to once and for all redeem people back to God. Hannah and Abia somehow found Yaron and Samuel among the swelling crowds. As horrendous as the situation was. Among the men who had gathered at the royal gates were Yaron and Samuel. Instead of people dying. the Lamb of 173 . His face was so bloodied from the cruel treatment of Antipas’ soldiers that they hardly recognized Him. When they saw Jesus. The cross represented sin that separated humankind from God. In order for sin to be removed. Jesus had already explained to His followers about His death and how it must happen.
it was something else. As tragic and horrifying as Jesus’ death dance was. yet as she watched. The prophet Isaiah had said there would be a perfect sacrifice that would be wounded for the transgressions and bruised for the iniquities of others. my God. there would be terrible greatness as a result of His dance. she began to realize. It was like a dance between two partners—one good and the other evil. Abia saw something much more. the perfect sacrifice is my friend Jesus! The savage and inhumane crucifixion of Jesus was horrendous. too. 174 .” John the Baptist had once said.Danc ing wit h Jesus God who takes away the sins of the world. Abia wept bitter tears when she realized that everything she was about to see was for her benefit. Oh.
Jesus had worked with wood in his earthly father’s carpenter shop. the work 175 . He Endured the Dance From the His earliest memory. He had no experience with this type of rough plank. but no. as He approached the moment of crucifixion. Now. it was a piece of wood that any carpenter would have easily rejected. He could make and repair objects and structures that only a knowledgeable woodworker could. Held captive inside the long timber was the shape of a dancer that only His eyes could see. There was something inside this old piece of hard wood. She needed a partner to make her into the image of what He saw. His calloused hands had been accustomed to skillfully taking a piece of wood and crafting it into something beautiful.C H A P T E R 2 4 For the Joy Set Before Him. From its appearance. His experienced eye assessed the wood that lay at His feet. Certainly. From the look of her unyielding position within the wood that encased her.
Danc ing wit h Jesus
would be tremendously difficult for Him. This unwilling dance partner was much more than a hardened object of wood; she was a picture of His mission to bring life back to all the hardened souls who would one day become His Bride. With His heart beating wildly within His chest, Jesus cast His swollen eyes to the ground where she lay. Her crossbeam arms were stiff and unyielding. Her length was a little longer than the width of a grown man’s outstretched arms. Her leaves and branches of former beauty and glory had been stripped from her, leaving her with only a trunk. Centuries of disgrace and the humiliation of her sins had left her trunk stained through and through with reminders of her past. The food of resentment, hatred, shame, guilt, apathy, pride, offense, disgust, and many other poisons had passed through her roots, causing bitterness to be lodged in her heart-wood, making it inflexible. It pulsed with hostility. Generational sins thought to be underground and hidden made her exhausted and hard. Her inner bark was blackened by the sins of others and the sins she had imposed on others. Her own attempts to protect herself had made her outer bark nonresponsive and indignant to all efforts made by others to help her. Distrust, mistrust, unbelief, and strong suspicion made her guarded and unapproachable. She weighed at least 125 pounds, and she was full of attitudes, beliefs, and mindsets that were so twisted that she blamed others for her obesity. Vowing to never be a victim again, she had now become the opposite: the prey. Her arms were outstretched. She offered herself to others in an attempt to heal the pain. Sin and satan worked as partners to entice the wounded with fleeting relief, empty promises, lies, and deferred hope. Then, when she was once again humiliated and tricked by the same old lines, satan laughed at her and it brought more pain. She believed his lies about her, and to self-medicate from the pain, she turned once again to anything and anyone who could offer her false help.
For the Joy Set Before Him, He Endured the Dance
She hated and was hated; she looked for a way out, but the only voice she heard was the one who wanted her harmed or killed. Satan patiently watched her self-destruct. He did not want to be accused of murder, but if he could convince her that any other voice of love, acceptance, and forgiveness was wrong, she would kill herself. Either way he would win. Satan saw God’s precious creation—humankind—bowing down in worship to him and rejecting the Creator’s wisdom, help, and truth as a victory in and of itself. The God of love and hope having hopeless and loveless children was sweet success to the enemy of humanity and humanity’s God. Jesus saw His wooden-hearted dance partner and reached for her, regardless of her outward and inward appearance. He was a willing partner, not a forced one. With outstretched arms He picked her up from the dirt in which she seemed determined to stay. With a pout and a show of displeasure, she seemed resolute to make this dance as difficult as possible. She was indifferent to Him and the help He offered her. She would be heavy and lazy and would hinder Him any chance she could. It was as if all the evil in the world were gathered together to keep this dance from occurring. Despite her resistance, Jesus bowed from the waist and embraced His wooden crossbeam dance partner. This was a dance He was created and destined for. At long last, He lifted her to His shoulder to support her as they moved onward down the Via Delarosa. Jesus was not ashamed to be seen with her and paraded her in front of the people who were gathering around both sides of their dance floor. The cross silently showed the audience their ugly sins—the ones He was carrying for them. He was rewarded with angry shouts and malicious gazes. Only a few people seemed to recognize what Jesus was doing and were in agony for being the cause of it.
Danc ing wit h Jesus
The weight of the people’s sins made the tree heavier and heavier as time went by. He carried it anyway. He seemed to be devoted to carrying it no matter its appearance or the shame He was incurring. This was to be a slow dance, a very slow dance. From one place to another He carried her. People began to circle around the tragic couple as if enjoying His struggle and heartbreak. As the dance proceeded, they bumped into the people on the crowded narrow street of the dance floor. His off-balance dance steps amused some while sickening others. He embraced His wooden dance partner with both hands, leading her all the while to Golgotha, the Place of the Skull. Inch by inch they moved to the rhythmic beat of the soldiers’ whips and the chaotic roar of the audience. Cheek to cheek, He led his reluctant partner upward and onward to the summit of the Skull. Astounded onlookers who gawked at the couple from both sides of the road wondered where He got His inspiration for this dance. Desperately He fought to hold her and to protect her from returning to the dirt and mire she came from. Yet she seemed equally determined to return there. She put splinters into His hands, arms, and legs as His reward for dancing with her. The new and old blood mixed together as it spilled over the hardened body of wood. His blood of forgiveness flowed into the deepest crevices of her unbendable, wooden inner being. No sin was left uncovered. Each and every sin she could ever commit in the past, present, and future was included. His open crimson wounds covered all transgressions, while the hidden and secret iniquities were covered by the dark purple pools of blood which bruised His body beneath His skin. Her refusal and resistance to participate in the dance seemed to be understood by Jesus. He knew this dance would save people from eternal death and damnation, but the enemies of God were
For the Joy Set Before Him, He Endured the Dance
stubbornly heartless. In protest, she spun and dodged His grip, but He compassionately gained control, as if steadying a rebellious child. Did she not realize He was not going to give up? Nothing was going to discourage Him or prevent Him from finishing this dance. His passion and uninhibited movements seemed to communicate a type of love and sacrifice never before seen. God so loved the world that He gave Jesus, His only Son, to save the world from their sins, to give all who believe in Him eternal life and a restored relationship with God the Father. Jesus’ love for His Father and love for the world made Him more determined than ever. He was not going to sit this dance out. Jesus’ dance was dramatic at times as His movements were strong and sure. At others, everyone wondered if one foot would indeed follow the other. How could He go on? Then the inevitable happened. He fell, dropping His companion with a thud. All of Heaven and hell seemed to strain to see what would happen next. The human-made crown of humiliation went tumbling on the dusty road. The Roman soldiers were filled with distaste and contempt as they watched this ridiculous dance. Thinking Jesus would not be able to carry on, they grabbed another man from the crowd to take His place. Simon of Cyrene assumed Jesus’ stance with the weight of Jesus’ partner resting fully on him. With the crown now tightly put back onto Jesus’ head, Jesus was ordered to walk alone. His wooden partner and Simon followed Jesus’ steps onward and upward. They did not dance very far when Simon’s strength was waning. One of the Roman soldiers insisted on cutting in on the dance once again. He ordered Simon to give Jesus’ partner back to Him. Jesus’ blood, sweat, and tears covered the long wooden body of His dance partner. It seemed as if being away from her hurt Him more than dancing with her. Simon wondered how Jesus could be
Danc ing wit h Jesus
so determined to get her back when he was so relieved to be rid of such an ugly and reluctant dance partner. At first it seemed as though Jesus was being ordered to dance by the soldiers, but the look in His eyes when they handed the cross back to Him seemed to suggest quite the opposite. Jesus once again reached out to His pathetic dance partner as if clinging to her in a desperate and loving embrace. Simon bowed from the waist in respect and awe of the man whose strength, purpose, and commitment he did not understand. How could Jesus want to resume the ghastly dance he was thankfully free from? This was not something he could do. Only Jesus could carry the weight of that cross. Simon knew he could not have carried the weight of his own sins upon the cross, let alone the sins of the whole world. Only Jesus could bring redemption and sanctification to this dance. Simon stood a safe distance away from the dance floor as the two passed him by once again. Admiration and gratitude filled his thoughts as he watched the procession. The divine dance proceeded with repeated turns and spins. The pattern of movements seemed to vary, and at times it seemed like Jesus would not be able to continue. Jesus was bloody from the whipping and harsh treatment of the soldiers. Long splinters kept lodging under His skin, making His appearance more repulsive than ever. The stripes upon His back for every known and unknown sickness were taking their toll. Every inflammation, affliction, infirmity, sickness, disease, disorder, syndrome, abnormal cell, cyst, radical cell, abnormal growth, blood condition, stress, lesion, metastasizing cell, swelling, discomfort, bone pain, depression, nausea, fatigue, and spasm from every organ or bone in the body, He carried.
causing Him to once again strain to stand. fear. Once again the military leaders in charge of the dance ripped Jesus’ partner from Him. distortion. I will finish this dance. Jesus and His ungraceful partner stood. bondages. though it will kill Me. and slumbering spirits assaulted His mind with knowledge of slavery. stumbled. Grief-stricken women and men began to shout questions at the cruel soldiers as the hammering increased. heaviness. Yet. religious. He danced on. This time. evil. Her expressed amusement was hushed as He continued to be the leader of the dance. familiar. In unity. Over and over again she thought she had victory over Him. lying. deceitful. Scenes of the destruction and violence of humankind filled His mind. “Are you afraid you will have to take Jesus’ place and dance with His hideous partner?” “Can’t you tell by now how dedicated He is to finishing this dance Himself?” “Why must you nail Him to the cross?” “Are you afraid Jesus would not hold out long enough to finish this dance to its end?” Not quite sure if the words were spoken aloud or not. antichrist. whoredom. and jealousy. She continued to offer Him no assistance and seemed to laugh when her efforts caused Him to stagger and trip. haughtiness. I will finish this dance. Unclean. Jesus thought. and deeds from the pit of hell were made known to Him. harlotry. They bobbed up and down and twisted about until the sadistic music of the crowd came to an abrupt halt. and fell. stupor. I was born for it. divination. They hung a mocking sign above His head proclaiming Him to be King of the Jews. error. My Bride. but with every fiber of His being He forged ahead. infirmity. For you. medium. they threw her down onto the ground and made Jesus lie with His bloody back next to her as they nailed His feet and hands to her. perverse.For the Joy Set Before Him. 181 . He Endured the Dance His mind was invaded by evil thoughts. seducing.
He could see her even now. He proceeded in the dance until His last breath was spent. As the blood and water flowed out of His side from the soldier’s jab with a spear. If only she would have faith in Him. This dance was to His death. His Bride. He refused. the second Adam. It was worth all the pain and suffering He was going through. and the ugly cross He danced with would keep her from having to suffer the curse her sin would incur. and with that last breath He declared. accomplished. This death dance promised by the Father would guarantee the fulfillment of these desires. wooden cross as His thoughts drifted to the day when His reward. could have His Spirit and live. Jesus’ Bride. His Bride. the stripes on His back would be for her healing. the redeemed Church.Danc ing wit h Jesus When the soldiers offered Jesus a drink of sour wine. His humiliation would allow her to know Him in a way never yet known. would be presented to Him by His Father. Jesus leaned His weary head against the old.” For His last dance movement. He would gladly dance with this dreadful cross in exchange for the dance they would share at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Jesus’ shed blood would be for the forgiveness of His Bride’s sins. and the Son of God wanted a Bride. “It is finished. He bowed His head in a silent salute and gave up His spirit. so she. No wine would touch His lips until that glorious day when He would return for His Bride. The Father God wanted a family. One day His Bride would be as eager to dance with Him as He was to dance with her. What the first Adam did not do. 182 . Gently. Jesus. was born. but it would bring His Bride new life. without spot or blemish. in the near future. this dance would not be in vain. due to the finished dance with the cross.
One was so selfish. Salome’s dance and the crucifixion dance troubled her for opposing reasons. a great sadness and fear filled the hearts of the believers.C H A P T E R 2 5 A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance Never would Abia view dance in the same way again. had asked Pilate for Jesus’ body. One tricked and brought about death. Jesus’ mother. Mary. the other so pure and guileless. Why? Why? Why? Her thoughts were consumed with searching for the answer. Some were taking action. the other so selfless. While Abia sought answers. He had great respect for Jesus and did not want Jesus’ body to stay on the cross for dogs and vultures to consume His remains. a secret disciple of Jesus. and some other women went in search of 183 . One dance was so wicked and defiling. Joseph of Arimathea. and the other brought about an escape from death and brought life. The Lord had allowed Abia to witness both dances.
But the apostles thought she was talking nonsense and would not believe her. The Pharisees were afraid when they remembered what Jesus had said about rising after three days. Behind a closed door Jesus appeared to ten disciples and 184 . He appeared to Peter in Jerusalem. I have told you.Danc ing wit h Jesus Him to prepare Him for burial. When the two women arrived where the apostles were staying. Come. also came. The guards shook with fear and became like dead men. The appearance of the angel was like lightning.” the angel concluded. bringing with him a mixture of myrrh and aloes of about 100 pounds in weight. An angel of the Lord descended from Heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. a converted Jewish leader. He gave orders for the tomb to be secured with military guards and for a stone to seal its entry. Nicodemus. Sadness and fear filled the hearts of all believers. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead. went back to the grave site. The angel said to the women. Mary Magdalene and Mary. for He has risen. the men were mourning and weeping over the death of Jesus. see the place where He was lying. He is going ahead of you into Galilee. They bound Him in linen wrappings and laid Him in a tomb that had been hewn out of rock. She had actually taken hold of His feet and worshiped Him. He is not here. A great earthquake had occurred. and they complained to Pilate. Two travelers on the road saw Him. for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. behold. and his clothing was as white as snow. They took Jesus’ body to cleanse and anoint Him for burial. and behold. All doubts and fears were diminished when Jesus presented Himself alive to them many different times over a period of 40 days. there you will see Him. Mary Magdalene announced with great excitement that He was indeed alive and that she had seen Jesus in the garden near the tomb. the mother of James. “Do not be afraid. just as He said.
they shared meals. Jesus disappeared in a cloud. When He did. His brothers. Seven disciples saw Him while they fished. He instructed them to return to Jerusalem. where they were to wait for what the Father had promised. Matthias was chosen by casting of lots. While they waited in the upper room. The 11 returned and went to the upper room they had been using as a meeting place. Son. He explained how it was necessary for Him to leave them and return to His Father. Judith and Abraham. As Jesus gathered together with His followers. He spoke to 11 of His disciples and gave the “Great Commission. including Abia. but somehow the memory of Salome’s dance and 185 . and Holy Spirit. who had betrayed Jesus and had killed himself. John had baptized them in water. With those things said. He would baptize them in the name of the Father. Jesus told them many things about the Kingdom of God. They praised and worshiped God and were in perfect unity. who has been taken up from you into Heaven. She seemed to be in mourning. and teach the Kingdom of God through them throughout the land. the disciples chose another to replace Judas. the Holy Spirit could come and be with them to make witnesses and disciples of them. and many others.” The trip back to Jerusalem was a little over half a mile. and Yaron and Hannah—about 120 in all—met in this upper room for prayer. why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus. waiting as Jesus had instructed. Everyone who was there stood staring into the empty sky when two men in white robes appeared.” Five hundred brethren at one time saw Him as well. She had tried many times. Jesus’ mother. will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into Heaven. and they would soon be baptized by the Holy Spirit.A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance Thomas. Abia had not danced since Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. Mary. “Men of Galilee. To the disciples they said. Samuel and Mary.
causing her to wonder why she had witnessed these dances. 186 . She knew in her heart that there was a divine reason and that a day would come when it would be time for her to dance again.Danc ing wit h Jesus later Jesus’ death dance seeped into her mind.
Jesus had come just as had been spoken by the prophets of old. Their minds were limited and could not begin 187 . having celebrated Passover there. They began to realize that ancient prophecies were being fulfilled in their lifetime. Just as King David had in days long gone. was buried. The Torah was being spoken from the mouths of the oldest to the youngest as if it was a love story from God to humankind. Ten days later. came back to life. many found safety and solace in the upper room.C H A P T E R 2 6 The Prophetic Sound of the Fire Jesus was crucified at the time of Passover. Many people were still in Jerusalem. the ones gathered together to pray in the upper room stirred themselves in remembrance of God and His great deeds. He had died. and then He ascended into Heaven. and was now sitting with God the Father in Heaven. the same room where Jesus had shared what was now being called “the Last Supper” with the disciples. For 40 days Jesus appeared to people.
” Yaron’s voice pleaded in excitement and joy. The joy that rose within her caused her to spin around and around in abandonment. and their sons and relatives—stood on the east side of the altar dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals. They sang. “Let us sing of the Lord and His goodness. Abia danced before the Lord. Aloud Yaron began to retell the story of when Solomon had finished the Temple of the Lord and had summoned the elders of Israel to Jerusalem. spirit. Suddenly. arms. Abia danced to 188 . The trumpeters and singers joined together in unity. The Levites brought the Ark of the Covenant into the inner sanctuary of the Temple. totally surrendered to the Lord Most High. and lyres.” Then the Temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud. there seemed to be no other way to continue to express her love. but they were in awe of God. Everyone dropped to their knees. Abia could hold back no longer. At once he remembered the ancient chronicles. and body became fluid like warm honey that moved to a rhythm put inside her from the day of her conception in her mother’s womb by the hands of God Himself. and mind.Danc ing wit h Jesus to contain the magnitude of it all. harps. His love endures forever. With surrendered body. She had to dance. Her feet. will. the Most Holy Place. “One hundred twenty. for the glory of the Lord filled the Temple of God. Heman. With wild excitement. With one voice they began to praise and thank God. All the Levites who were musicians—Asaph. Having expressed by mouth every word of worship and praise she knew.” Yaron repeated the number to himself after counting the number of people who had gathered in the upper room. Jeduthun. They were accompanied by 120 priests who sounded trumpets. and devotion to God than to dance. Let us be trumpeters and singers who usher in the presence of God. adoration. Ever so slowly. “He is good. one hundred twenty. she began to rise from the floor.
The vibrant colors that accompanied the wind were ones never seen on Earth before. she danced in wonder and awe of Him. Abia saw one whom she believed to be Miriam with a tambourine in her hand accompanied by a large company of dancers. sounding as if it was coming from Heaven. the dancing king. Who were these people? Bewildered. Father and Son—were caught up into the excitement and jubilation and were dancing with them. a sudden gale-force wind rushed in. A giant cylinder of light formed from the ceiling and settled in the center of the room. It was as if all inhabitants of Heaven—saints and angels.” It was incredible. Without warning. Gradually. she strained her eyes to try to recognize the great crowd that had gathered with them in the upper room. The prophets of old were allowed to gather together with new believers of this day. Rays of gold and white lights appeared as God’s glory came rushing in from Heaven. the men cried as if with one loud voice. When Abia remembered that she had not been able to dance for so many years and how He miraculously had healed her. the wind swirled around them. King David. The Great Cloud of Witnesses. were rewarded and allowed to share the celebration of God being united once again with His people. “They are the Great Cloud of Witnesses from past generations. All the men and women in the room were caught in the rain of worship as joy and celebration became contagious. they transformed into brand-new colors never before seen in this realm. Abia became aware that others had joined their little band of 120. A fresh. She danced because she could. The rays of golden and white lights quivered with excitement as the glory of God entered and was followed by the seven spirits of God: the Spirit of 189 . All at once. who had prophesied this day.The Prophetic Sound of the Fire celebrate Him and what He meant to her. Like an unrestrained wildfire. led the way. heavenly fragrance was unleashed to fill the room. As the wind blew the colors. It too danced around the room.
Flaming fire darted back and forth around the room until a holy visitation was made to each of those who were gathered. filling them like a pitcher pours forth wine into a cup. causing it to flow outward toward the doorway of the upper room and eventually to stairs that led to the city streets. faithfulness. the Spirit of Knowledge. and discerning of spirits came forth and were 190 . the Spirit of Wisdom. and interpretation of tongues arose from the golden box and were poured out upon each of them. knowledge. Speak. The Holy Spirit poured into them. Bypassing natural boundaries of the rim. A variety of gifts for ministry and for the common good are presented to you!” exclaimed the beings as they opened the gifts of the Holy Spirit. peace. The whole floor became saturated with wine. goodness. These spirits were separate. the Holy Spirit of God was discharged into flames of fire. know. the Spirit of Power. gentleness. the Holy Spirit poured into each cup the very presence of God and the very power of God. kindness. joy. Verbal gifts of prophecy. Around and around they went spinning into an apex at the center of the room.Danc ing wit h Jesus the Lord. but one. In a wondrous and glorious explosion. the Spirit of Counsel. From the center of the room came another blast of light as two angelic beings brought forth a golden box that would be envied by any earthly king. and the Spirit of the Fear of the Lord. The wine flowed with the virtues of Jesus. the Spirit of Understanding. Knowing gifts of wisdom. “But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him and is charged with representing Him on Earth. Heaven was kissing Earth as a flame kissed each head. patience. Love. tongues. and self-control entered and overflowed from them until the contents of each cup touched its neighbors. The pouring and spilling out was a continuous movement. and act like Jesus.
As Abia heard the sound. and healing were transferred into their newly awakened spirits. Astoundingly. The Holy Spirit would unite with dance in a divine form of worship because God could now completely inhabit the praises of His people. yet it came from within.The Prophetic Sound of the Fire imparted into them. Abia’s spirit. but more importantly. Doing or action gifts of miracles. yet it was somehow familiar to her newly awakened spirit. with His presence. it was the sound before there was sound. but was enabled to speak by a supernatural means of the Holy Spirit. God the Father’s long awaited dream of inhabiting His people once again was being realized because of His Son. through the Son. It was an ancient sound. This dance would be received from God by the Holy Spirit and manifested through movement to bring forth a message. to speak to His people. each began to speak in a different language or tongue as the Holy Spirit prompted. Abia knew it as the prophetic sound of the dance. He wants His people filled with His knowledge and understanding. She knew it was a heavenly sound because she could not find its match within her own understanding and experience. faith. Jesus. Intuitively. she was given discernment as to what the sound of the dance meant. People were meant to house God just as Moses’ tabernacle and other temples demonstrated in the natural. To their further amazement. and body were somehow made aware of this new and rhythmic reverberation. soul. It was different than the wind sound. It was then that Abia heard the new sound. No one was taught the language by natural means of learning. It was a sound within the sound. Abia had never heard this sound before. The movements given to the dancer were 191 . the believers had become the temple of the Holy Spirit. This was to be a new and glorious form of communication from the Father. by the Holy Spirit. This dance required the infilling of the Holy Spirit to hear His voice and the power to obey His commands.
192 . It would be an incredible tool for worship and a weapon of war against God’s enemies. He patterned Himself by the Father. By divine guidance. speaking only what He heard the Father speak and doing only what He saw the Father do. the heart of God. repair. and warfare. holy. Dance would be a visual demonstration of the Word of God. Prophetic dance would follow Jesus’ example. This dance would be authentic. and purified by the leading of the Holy Spirit and allowed only through the filter of love. The spiritual could invade the physical realm to bring about healing. The movements would be released from Heaven by the Holy Spirit and received here on Earth to accomplish His purposes and desires. It would make evident the new habitation of His Presence within the temple of earthly vessels. peace. while bringing peace and comfort to the hearts of His people. The Holy dancers would descend to carry out the messages through divine movements. renewal. All authority in Heaven and on Earth would be given to prophesy and give testimony of Jesus and to execute on Earth what was being said in Heaven. intercession.Danc ing wit h Jesus the actual movements of God in the Spirit realm. restoration. This was to be a prophetic dance. and everything else Jesus accomplished on the cross and with His authority. The enemies of God would not be able to understand this nonverbal method of prayer. Holy dancers would ascend to high places of worship and reach depths unattainable until now. refreshing. and the love of God. A prophetic dancer would speak through movement only that which Jesus would speak and do. deliverance. God was restoring humankind to Himself. It would bring confusion to the camps of the enemy. a dancer in complete unity with the will of God would cause and bring about earthly changes. The dances would speak the oracles of God from ancient paths to bring about changes now and for the future.
heart. and spirit strained to hear His voice. and spirit responded without hesitation to the glory. killed. in the form of the Holy Spirit. Abia’s mind was reeling from the wonder of it all. It was Jesus’ voice. but her mind could not fathom all its meaning. This voice was not one she heard from her natural ears. Abia was still trying to figure out how she could be in the presence of God and yet still be alive! How Abia ended up in a heap. Abia’s spirit drank greedily from the wealth of knowledge and revelation the Holy Spirit was imparting. mind. She needed the wisdom to accompany the knowledge. and Counselor. authority. mind. anointed holy prophetic dancers would minister God’s love to others one day. entered the room. “Abia. It was as if she had been asleep. but it came from within the pulsing spirit now alive within her. It would take a lifetime to soak in what had been shown to her.” the Holy Spirit’s voice spoke again as if to give her practice hearing from her spirit and not her ears. she could not abase herself enough. or destroyed would be restored. Helper. Her body. “You are a holy 193 .The Prophetic Sound of the Fire Abia recognized that called. Abia was discovering that very spirit was an unlimited container to hold spiritual things while her flesh was restricted and inadequate. she had no recollection. All she knew was that when the presence of God. Their prayer language through dance movements would enable them to come boldly before the throne of God and request that the enemy’s camp be plundered and that everything that had been stolen. and it was the same as when He called Abia His dancer three years prior. but she now had a Teacher. and majesty of the Lord. “Abia.” He said. God had spoken her name! She had heard that voice before. A whisper got her attention while her ears. but was now awakened and vibrantly alive as never before. face down on the floor of the upper room.
” As if sensing her thoughts before there was time to utter them. such as a king. and He had spoken directly to her! Abia’s spirit. “The first dance will be last. Today.Danc ing wit h Jesus dancer called to minister on Earth as it is in Heaven. Abia had not sensed Him exiting the room. Abia’s response was automatic. “Your dance will be more than thanksgiving and expressions of joy. for indeed. Reflect on Salome’s counterfeit dance. as you have been made aware. A great crowd had gathered outside when they heard the tremendous thunderous sound from within the walls of the upper 194 . It will invite the presence of God. you will dance in spirit and in truth. He would never leave again. What truth do you wish to know?” The questions that entered her thoughts were ones that had restlessly and impatiently circled her mind for many months now. It will be more than the physical or outward expression of the inward relationship you have had with Me. priest. The Holy Spirit spoke to Abia’s spirit with the following reply. The truth imparted to you today will not be lost to you and will be revealed in the days ahead. a peace she had not known until then. my Lord” the automatic response came from Abia’s lips. you have been given My Spirit within you. “The last dance of Jesus’ death is all-important and essential. and mind were whirling like the convergence of massive hurricanes. God was speaking to humankind without a mediator. body. and I’ll reveal more truth. and the last dance will be first. “Why did I witness Salome’s dance and Jesus’ death dance?” She voiced her response in humility. or prophet. Everything is to be centered on the finished work of the cross. the Holy Spirit explained.” A new and wonderful peace flooded Abia’s spirit. acknowledging and answering the call all in the same instance. Have you heard the sound of a new dance?” “Yes. From this precise moment.
195 . and those who heard him were pricked in their hearts and immediately convicted of their sins. New wine had been given to them by the Holy Spirit. Upon arriving. women. and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Some people. Criticism flowed from the scoffers’ sober hearts—those who disapproved anything they did not understand. Peter. stood with the 11 disciples to dispute the lie that they were drunk on sweet wine. saying that they must be intoxicated. and Gentiles—the Holy Spirit empowered Peter to rightly discern ancient prophecies to the people. With an audience comprised of people from the whole world— men. Having personally experienced salvation. He proved by the Holy Scriptures that everything that had happened to Jesus was planned by God and that no government or religious officials could alter or control it.” he instructed. They wondered what God was doing in their midst and what it all meant. however. Gone was all selfconfidence. Peter could then lead them into a relationship with their Savior. testifying to the mighty deeds of God. and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. slaves. mocked the devout and all the people who had gathered in the upper room.The Prophetic Sound of the Fire room. “Repent. Devout people from every nation who had gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost were drawn by the sound. Jews. giving proof of God’s forgiveness and redemption. having been replaced with confidence that came from the Holy Spirit. the once unstable leader. Peter was empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak and teach despite his own personal sins and mistakes. which was immediately seen by Peter’s boldness as he preached to the highly religious crowd that had gathered. Despite the scorners. Peter and his message were Spirit-filled. Jesus’ resurrection was the proof and ultimate sign that all Jesus said was true. they heard their own languages being spoken.
life was never to be the same. but they were equally amazed by the many signs and wonders that were taking place through the apostles. One thing was extrememly evident. Devoting themselves to the apostles and their teachings. Armed with the Comforter and Holy Helper. 196 .000 souls in one day to the growing number of believers in Jesus. the infant Church began to grow and mature. They had dual identities for the first time in history— Jews and believers in Jesus. they broke bread together just as Jesus had done with His disciples in the upper room.Danc ing wit h Jesus Peter’s first sermon added 3. and yet there was an element of the unknown that caused an unsettling within each of them. In memory of Jesus and in remembrance of His teachings. many gathered to pray and were united in fellowship with each other. Everyone was filled with awe and wonder as they remembered all that Jesus taught and spoke of. Everyone was wild with excitement.
but because of their new beliefs.C H A P T E R 2 7 The Virgin Shall Rejoice in the Dance Jesus’ death and resurrection had changed the lives of all who believed in Him. to maintain order. Jesus’ rise in popularity was considered a threat to them. Unfortunately. but the ruling authorities framed Him in order to get rid of Him. The corrupt Jewish government became angry because 197 . they were treated as aliens. The Sanhedrin. Many believers resented their fellow Jews and began to assign blame for Jesus’ death on the Sanhedrin and the crowds of people who wanted Him crucified. Life for the new believers was getting more difficult with each passing day. And that meant they did not have as many people to swindle money from. became less tolerant of believing Jews. The Jewish Sanhedrin hated the followers of Jesus because of the rising numbers of people who were leaving the traditions of the Jews in favor of the newly found freedom in Christ. Jesus was a Jew. they lived in their own land.
Romans believed Jesus’ followers drank real blood and ate real human flesh. sewers.Danc ing wit h Jesus the people. after hearing Jesus’ teachings. They believed they practiced some type of cannibalism and thought the group was highly superstitious. not having any knowledge of the symbolic practice. When the Jewish government leaders made attempts to quiet the so-called rumors of Jesus’ resurrection by killing anyone who made reference to it. they were being imprisoned. The Romans thought the new believers in Jesus were strange. were less tolerant of them. The Roman government started putting unreasonable demands on belivers of Jesus. Other believers blamed the Roman government for not stopping the death sentencing when there was insufficient evidence to have Jesus crucified. and harassed daily. blaming it for the civil unrest. and the Romans grew highly suspicious and watchful of them. avoided joining their military. The Roman people were a prideful people and felt rebuffed when the believing Jews voiced any criticism of their pagan practices. and dark alleys because they were not allowed to gather publicly. In the practice of taking communion. As a result. So the conditions and treatment for believers declined rapidly. Rome was hoping to stop the spread of the new religion. the Jewish believers in Jesus tried to fight back in any way they could. beaten. 198 . They forced them to meet in the city’s catacombs. The people finally had an authentic leader in Jesus to judge others by. and rejected many Roman traditions. It was known far and wide that the Romans took bribes for protection of the high priests of the Jews leaving no protection for believers of Jesus. They had heard rumors that followers of Jesus thought of themselves as powerful. The believers did not participate in Roman public festivals. and many of the high priests and other religious leaders did not like how they fared. Romans grew resentful of the believers who did not gamble or practice the sexual immorality that was widespread.
Rome kept a tight rein on them and believed they were bad for society. Roman rule demanded control. and rainmaking. As often as possible. and for the Kingdom of God to be spread far and wide. They offered wine and incense to the other gods. who they believed had special powers over everyday matters. People were receiving Jesus as their personal Savior and were being filled with the Holy Spirit to serve and to do the greater things that Jesus had spoken about. but it had become more and more dangerous. If Caesar was to be worshiped. In the months following Pentecost. as Rome was calling them. were being reported daily. but did believe their Caesar to be their god. military might. so they were watched continually. believers in Jesus gathered together to pray for individual needs. but never were they without fear of being discovered by the Roman armies. Because of the civil unrest between the Jews and due to the fact the Jews would not worship their gods. but it was known with whom their allegiance lay. The group of soldiers assigned to the Ben-David neighborhood was tolerant. The Church grew and grew.The Virgin Shall Rejoice in the Dance The Romans were not devoutly religious. The soldiers were aware of the fact that the threat of death was hanging over each soldier’s 199 . murders of Christians. The deaths of these martyrs seemed to have an opposite reaction to what was expected by the unbelievers and government. Rome had the belief that bad things happened in society if the gods were not properly respected or worshiped. such as crop growing. High prices of punishment came as a result of not following the sacred customs of the Romans. This had been tolerated and accepted by the Romans. It was such an exciting time to gather with the others. for the apostles. then everyone had to worship him. and they had other gods as well. It had always been a specific practice of the Jews to gather and worship God both privately and publicly. Any formal gathering was viewed as a possible rebellion.
They had learned to stand up in times of uncertainty and in adversity. or could not. but they did not. but the religious leaders were excluding them from participating with the other Jews in time-honored traditional practices 200 . So. These were changes only God could do. The Jews desired justice and felt restoration was needed in every part of society from its corruption. They yearned for restitution of the former glory when the nation of Israel was called the apple of God’s eye. social injustices. All the people benefited from their sacrifices. familiar ways.Danc ing wit h Jesus head for disobedience. who practiced the old. The Levites and priests had long ago made sacrifices of worship as worship leaders. many gathered to remember and worship God. who was always found faithful. Uncertainty seemed to be a familiar blanket. one that had covered the Jewish people since the beginning of time. but others were consumed with jealousy because they did not want their position or power to be shared with anyone. As people reflected on the events of Pentecost. Jewish history is littered with wars against the Jews. and misconduct toward the people of God by her fiercest enemies. Some decided to leave the teachings of Jesus and join the Jews. a united front always works best in protecting against an attack. but many believed that following the former religious ways would be enough to bring this about. When the enemy comes. as with those from generations past. they wondered. so there was no choice for them but to do their duty. but what happens if there is no united front and the enemy is within? Many Christians were Jews. Could what was experienced on the day of Pentecost mean that every member of every believing household could have the same anointing for serving and worshiping God previously available to only Levites or priests? This was incredible news for some. enter into that holy place themselves.
“He who scattered Israel will gather him And keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock. together. it became a necessity when many were excommunicated from the synagogues. The Jewish leadership made the decisions to prohibit those who believed in Jesus—Jew or Gentile—from entering the Temple or synagogues. Hear the word of the Lord. It seemed everyone was in deep reflection about their faith and the trustworthiness of God. O nations. And say. Incredible stories of how Jesus had touched. And declare in the coastlands afar off. While gathering in homes to worship had been long practiced by the Jews. For I will turn their mourning into joy And will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow. Suddenly. During the gatherings. tribulations. The harmonious sounds of voices that had weathered many trials. Everyone 201 . The ancient words of the prophet Jeremiah were put to music and sung. And the young men and the old. the power of God would rise in the hearts and spirits of the believers and inspire the people to worship the Lord and to share their personal testimonies with others.The Virgin Shall Rejoice in the Dance such as worshiping in the Temple or synagogues. and changed their lives stirred hope within the hearts of all. there was an urgency to remember everything Jesus had said and done while He was with the people. but so were others. and persecutions made a passionate serenade to Jesus. bringing comfort to all. Christian Jews were persecuted for their belief in Jesus.” …Then the virgin will rejoice in the dance. healed. Rich and poor alike shared from their hearts how Jesus had rescued them from some form of darkness and had brought them into His marvelous light. The song stirred a longing within the hearts of the most aged and young alike.
He will guide 202 . the Spirit of truth. it is to your advantage that I go away. history was being made and woven together as one would carefully weave a tapestry. son of Zebedee and the brother of James. I will send Him to you. sorrow has filled your heart. concerning sin. to His long-awaited ascension. when He comes. and none of you asks Me. And He. John. Fear and anxiety filled even the hearts of the most aged of men at times. But when He. spoke to the hearts of all who were gathered one day as he remembered the following words of Jesus. “But now I am going to Him who sent Me. “I have many more things to say to you. comes. at the same time. so such uncertainty. but you cannot bear them now. What would become of the people? Only God knew for certain. No one knew what the day ahead would bring. From Jesus’ foretold birth and predicted crucifixion. for if I do not go away. Doubt and unbelief partnered to make even the most faithful falter. Many had expected a king who would destroy the evil ones on Earth. But I tell you the truth. It was incredible how the chronicle of Jesus’ life brought about such hope of His Kingdom being on Earth and yet. and concerning righteousness. by the insightful power of the Holy Spirit. because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me. because the ruler of this world has been judged.Danc ing wit h Jesus began to realize. the Helper will not come to you. and concerning judgment. will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you. Each description of events from Jesus’ short life was confirming the ancient prophecies. but if I go. but the Kingdom Jesus spoke of was not of this Earth. Jesus had also said what would happen to those who followed Him when He was back at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. because they do not believe Me. that they had been warned of the events of His death before they occurred.
I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you. He will glorify Me. God the Father.The Virgin Shall Rejoice in the Dance you into all the truth. while others had mixed feelings about the past and an excitement for the future. In the world you have tribulation. Believing in Jesus and what He said was the difference between life and death. and now God the Holy Spirit were with them for the first time in history. the Holy Spirit was with all believers in Jesus. He will speak. “These things I have spoken to you. Some ached for the former way of life. it seemed as though it was the worst of times. while at the same time. long or short. so that in Me you may have peace. not just with the high priests and appointed kings as in days long ago. Therefore. No matter what life was to bring. for He will not speak on His own initiative. I have overcome the world. but take courage. There seemed to be an expectancy of new worship since the atoning death of the Lamb of God and the infilling of the Holy Spirit. were to be lived as Jesus lived His. All things that the Father has are Mine.” With those words. In many ways. but whatever He hears. Their lives. God the Son. and He will disclose to you what is to come. everyone began to rejoice and worship the Lord Most High. They were not left as orphans. for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. could one dare hope that better days were ahead? 203 . His mercy and grace astounded everyone who had gathered to worship God that day.
she danced. she danced. to dance with Him. Finally she began to understand why she never stopped thinking about dancing. 205 . even when she was unable to walk. but you cannot bear them now. When Abia prayed.C H A P T E R 2 8 Slow Dancing “I have many more things to say to you. She yearned to be alone with Him. She sought the Lord time after time to try to piece together what He was teaching her about this new dance that came from the sound given by the Holy Spirit. although she had not realized it was a calling until now. She yearned to hear His voice again and the incredible things He had promised to tell her.” resounded though Abia’s spirit as they walked home from the gathering that evening. When she worshiped. “What things do You want to say to me. Abia’s calling had always seemed to be one involving dance. Lord? Why can I not bear them now?” The silence that followed gave her a sense that more was to come.
Why had she witnessed the dance that led to John the Baptist’s death and the crucifixion dance of Jesus? The Holy Spirit’s advice to focus on the counterfeit to discover the original arose from her spirit. And go forth to the dances of the merrymakers.Danc ing wit h Jesus The Holy Spirit of God had told her that Jesus’ death dance was pivotal. He had also said she was to review the counterfeit dance of Salome for more revelation. For I will turn their mourning into joy And will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow. Once more. As wonderful as it was to gather with other believers. just like the questions that swirled in her mind. Again. O virgin of Israel! Again you will take up your tambourines. Her spirit could unite with His in a cherished way. Abia felt as if she could hear the voice of the prophet Jeremiah quoting God to this new generation of dancers everywhere: I have loved you with an everlasting love. the Spirit led Abia to dance for revelation. 206 . together. Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. …Then the virgin will rejoice in the dance. Again I will build you and you will be rebuilt. It was as if Abia knew that. He would bring revelation to her spirit. It seemed that He had created a new pattern or model to which dance was to be remolded and conformed. the old and new questions surfaced. Dancing seemed to be a portal to His presence. And the young men and the old. Abia desired the intimacy that had begun to develop since Pentecost when she danced alone with the Holy Spirit of God. if she could worship Him in the dance. It was an entrance way by which she could gain access and could approach Him.
After a while she began to tell the difference when He spoke to her. hop. but she also danced with the Spirit. The new revelation brought new movements and new thoughts of Him. just like a child who. Abia’s prayer language was one He understood. new movements. skips to reach for her father’s arms. turn. Faith was growing and so was her love for the One who had saved her soul. When the Holy Spirit spoke words of encouragement to her. Worship became richer and more intentional as she learned to lean on the Holy Spirit. she knew it was acceptable for her to move in the dance any way she desired. raise your arms. When she was obedient and did as He instructed. faith grew and His peace flooded the soul and spirit. Abia did not fully know what she said to Him as she used the new language. The exchange of words of knowledge and discernment allowed by the Holy Spirit helped her to know Him and the ways He wanted her to dance before Him. He moved and she followed. When Abia led with praise and worship. quieting her mind from doubt and fear. The dance exchange was exhilarating! 207 . jump. which led her back to worshiping and praising Him. Abia was rewarded with another word or phrase. spring about. and He brought understanding to her as well. He followed by steering her mind. kneel. The Holy Spirit was teaching Abia to dance with Him. and spirit to new thoughts. but she knew enough to know when she was worshiping Him because the sound of her voice and heart became full of admiration and joy. and clap—to name only a few— were some she heard Him speak. When she did not hear anything. body. The incredible language of tongues that was imparted to her when baptized by the Holy Spirit became the music she danced to. look up. without thought. and new revelation.Slow Dancing Physically Abia danced. Instructional words like swirl.
which was wonderful. At other times. Abia sensed a new awareness of the love He had for others as well.Danc ing wit h Jesus Once when Abia was dancing and thanking Him for being wise and powerful beyond all else. and it was in worship that Abia felt the most alive. Armed with love. Abia lifted her arms Heavenward and lowered them in a dramatic sweep downward. but amazingly it did not stop there. The realization of His love for humankind caused her to love them as well. as did new revelation of the love He had for her. Abia looked forward to coming home to make herself ready to dance as if she were anticipating a gentleman caller! 208 . As she did. love filled her heart in a manner she had never before felt. she heard Him speak into her own thoughts the phrase. Many times she gathered with other believers and danced in a corporate setting. Abia arose from the bow with the joy of the Lord flooding her heart and spirit as she spun around and around in the strength of His love. Eagerly Abia anticipated any and all opportunities to dance with Him and hear Jesus’ voice speak to her through the power of the Holy Spirit. “Humbly bow and arise in the power of My strength. bowing from the waist.” Without hesitation and in full obedience. The love for Him intensified. She lived to worship God.
family and friends assembled at various homes to sing. were gathering to share meals and exchange stories of the day’s events in common courtyards throughout the city of Jerusalem. Samuel and Mary joined his parents and Abia as they sat outside the kitchen room in the common courtyard. It was late fall. dance. Christians. After the evening meal.C H A P T E R 2 9 Dancing With Eyes Wide Open Fires were being lit as the daylight was dimming. and the night temperatures would soon make everyone move back inside their homes to escape the cold. 209 . the beginning of the Jewish New Year in late September. this night was unusually warm for the beginning of October. and worship God. The smell of firewood and prepared food permeated the air. as they were beginning to be called. Having just celebrated the Feast of Trumpets or Rosh Hashanah. As night fell.
but with love and relationship with Him. As the Spirit of the Lord began to move in Abia’s heart. She missed Judith sorely since she and Abraham had married. considering it too promiscuous. it was evident he had indeed married the love of his life. As the night grew darker. He had asked if it was possible for Samuel to visit her father’s house to pick it up after the evening meal. and as children they loved to brush each other’s long brown hair. They were worshiping their God. and the Holy Spirit without ritual. 210 . Even songs were beginning to change from a focus that was just on God to one that included Jesus.Danc ing wit h Jesus Samuel and Mary had married in late summer. Gone were the days when only men could give praise because the priest legalistically forbade men and women from singing together. Mary. So Samuel departed to retrieve the shofar. Mary remembered that her father had made for Samuel a new shofar or trumpet. It was the most amazing sound they had ever heard. when she was crippled from the accident. but Mary was now part of the family. Like all newlyweds. Abia began to dance and worship to the sound of new. she began to dance. as part of the family was glorious. and she taught Abia how to make baskets from straw. the sound of music from the neighboring homes within the confines of the courtyard grew louder. The sound was pure and holy. Her visits. Abia taught Mary to sew. Jesus. and she could not have been more thrilled. To have Abia’s best friend. they kept to themselves and away from anything that would distract them from each other. inspired songs played with instruments that created new sounds straight from Heaven. People began to sing songs created by the leading of the Holy Spirit. were always filled with the latest news. so they were still considered newlyweds. Mary had been her best friend ever since her earliest memory. From the way Samuel looked at Mary.
the Holy Spirit revealed a dance movement to her mind.Dancing With Eyes Wide Open Just then. When she prayed for protection. help him!” she cried. and from His temple He heard my voice. Abia joined 211 .” Then in her spirit Abia heard the roar of a mighty lion and saw the soldiers turn and run from sight. Her body spun around and around. Abia finally collapsed on the floor in a heap as her intercession dance came to an end. Abia saw danger approach him. which was to bring the edge of her skirt up with her two hands as if it was a blanket to comfort and shield them. With each prayer that poured forth from her mouth came a matching movement to her dance. Abia lifted both arms out to her side to imitate Him. Just then. The words of King David came to her mind: “In my distress I called upon the Lord. “Jesus. As she proclaimed Jesus as Samuel’s strong tower to run into in times of trouble. In the shadows. I cried to my God. she saw a vision. causing her dress to make a huge circle around her while she lifted her hands in surrendered abandonment. Shaking from head to toe. yes. and my cry for help came into His ears. two Roman soldiers were running to apprehend him. the movement He gave to Abia was similar to the one she had seen Jesus do when He was being crucified and did His death dance. He spread His arms apart on that terrible day at the cross of Calvary to welcome all who would believe in Him. His face was pale with fright. It was a vision of Samuel seen through the eyes of her spirit by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. He had decided to take a shortcut down a dimly lit street. Abia began to sing with the heavenly language of tongues she had received at Pentecost. and in the Spirit. Samuel ran into the courtyard running as fast as his legs could carry him. Suddenly. He was walking back home from Mary’s father’s house with the shofar gift in his hand. Abia’s heart was beating as fast as a drum. but did not stop dancing.
shadow-covered alcove of one of the buildings.Danc ing wit h Jesus him just as he began to tell his story—after he had caught his breath and drank the water Mary brought for him. nothing happened. He opened his eyes when he discovered the footsteps had stopped. Samuel held his breath in fear. he was about to make his break and run when heavy footsteps and clanging swords against the belts of the soldiers made him change his mind. but felt there was nothing else to do. he waited to die. he had decided to take a shortcut. While on his way home from retrieving the shofar from Mary’s father’s house. The Roman soldiers halted just five feet from Samuel. he tripped and got entangled in a muslin blanket that was hung on a clothesline to dry. Louder and louder came the approaching soldiers hurrying toward him. With a quick prayer and passing thoughts of regret for not being able to live out his life with Mary and to experience being a parent. This forced him to hide himself in a deep. he shut his eyes and waited for the soldiers to capture him within the next few seconds. Suddenly and without warning. Still crouched in the shadows of the buildings. But. Samuel did not know what other dangers might befall him if he ran. When he started to run. and he had not been revealed. who was still hidden from sight by the shadows of the night. he waited. not knowing whether or not they had seen him. Frozen by fear. To escape. He was blowing the new shofar rather loudly when suddenly he heard from behind soldiers’ footsteps rapidly approaching him. Something seemed to startle the two 212 . the Roman soldiers pivoted and started to run away from Samuel in the opposite direction from which they had come. he quickly planned to turn in the opposite direction and run as fast as he could. Still in danger.
He shook from a mixture of fear and relief. Without warning. “Samuel Ben-David!” Mary began to scold him. no matter how puzzling it seemed. there is no need for you to attempt to make it any more dramatic than it already is!” she said with a voice that trembled from hearing how close she had come to losing her husband. She also felt a little 213 . What made the soldiers do an about-face and run? What had they seen to cause them to run wildly away. Whatever it was. As they ran away. the latter was the case for Samuel. trying to discover the identity of the mysterious shadow.Dancing With Eyes Wide Open soldiers. panic seemed to grip them. it had made two highly trained Roman soldiers run for cover. With a trembling voice He offered to God a quick. he suddenly saw something move in the shadows directly behind him. Whatever was lurking in the gloom of the dimly lit street that threatened the two soldiers was about to show itself to him as well. all the while looking over their shoulders as if something were after them? As Samuel looked down the street into the darkness and got ready to stand and leave his hiding place. His eyes were locked on to the movement in the shadows. Mary had stationed herself under his arm in a perpetual hug to reassure herself he was indeed well. as if something or someone were after them. As he relayed the story to the family. but heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving to God for His divine protection. Samuel unexpectedly backed away from Mary as he began to remove the outer tunic he had been wearing. He strained his eyes. and they began to run. everyone was eagerly awaiting its conclusion. the soldiers kept peering over their shoulders in Samuel’s direction. Some shake at the first signs of trouble. making sure the soldiers would not return before he revealed himself from his safe hiding spot. and others do not shake until the trouble is over. “With your whole family and all your neighbors listening intently. Samuel decided to stay in the safety of the alcove for a little while longer.
our Savior Jesus. It was something that she never knew could happen while she danced. revelation came to Abia! She started jumping up and down and spinning her brother. joined in the laughter with the rest. friends. With a sideways grin that he always had when he was up to mischief. as she realized the reason for Samuel’s little push. Samuel. The kitten greeted the family with a sweet “meow” as Samuel said. and dear wife. and the Holy Spirit. Mary. 214 . and she was eager to share her experience with the others. OK. All at once. It spilled forth from her spirit as she recounted the events of her vision to the family and the alarmed friends who had gathered to find out why Samuel was running so fast in the dark. golden-colored kitten out from beneath its material. “This. The nervous tension in the room seemed to vanish as it gave way to laughter. Abia explained how she was given the revelation of what had just happened when she was dancing. Abia.” Samuel chiding Abia as his tolerance for his sister soon became annoyance. my family. gave me quite a fright tonight!” Everyone’s frightened glances softened in surprise as the small kitten emerged from the warmth of Samuel’s shirt.” she continued.Danc ing wit h Jesus miffed by the little shove he had given her when he was trying to take off his tunic. he finally reached into his outer shirt and gently brought a long-haired. OK. just as it sometimes had when she was younger. This dance was like no other. “Listen to me everyone. “I will tell you of yet another story of the goodness of our Father in Heaven. “OK.” Abia pleaded with excitement. around and around by the arm in her excitement.
the Spirit of the Living God gave me certain dance moves that matched the prayers I prayed. who is a strong tower. Abia began to see more fully the meanings of the dance moves. If he had kept running. While I was praying in the new heavenly language I received at Pentecost. by the gift of words of knowledge. The Holy Spirit. She had lifted the edges of her skirt as if it were a blanket used for protection. and as a shield at the very moment Samuel became entangled by a blanket that was hung on the clothesline. Jesus’ protection took the form of a dimly lit alcove of safety found between the arms of two adjoining buildings. had given her an ability to know the unknown and to pray specially against the dangers. he would have most likely been caught by the soldiers.” Abia explained. The Holy Spirit had said that the Lord inhabits the praises of His people! Jesus was the answer to all prayer. but greater still was how I was given insight and discernment on how to pray for him based on the help from the Holy Spirit!” she exclaimed. The blanket caused him to hide instead of run away. The prayers and dance moves seemed automatic. Samuel’s way was made safe. and I somehow knew he was in trouble. comfort. “While I was dancing. The Holy Spirit was allowing Abia to participate in a new type of prayer by acting out the 215 . As she recalled praying for Samuel to run into Jesus. God was using the gift of tongues as a way to communicate His knowledge and wisdom to the human mind and human spirit through the power of the Holy Spirit. I saw a vision of Samuel. the Holy Spirit had used her open arms while dancing to depict Jesus’ arms of protection. She learned that it is better to pray the answer rather than the problem. He allowed me to participate as the vision unfolded. as if they were guided by the Holy Spirit. “My prayer of intercession for divine help for Samuel was heard. When she did this. Recollecting Samuel’s story.Dancing With Eyes Wide Open “It began when I was dancing and worshiping God.” she said with her voice full of amazement.
the sound of a massive lion’s roar. the Lord receives my prayer. There seemed to be power in the movements themselves.” As a reminder and in honor of the Lion of Judah’s mighty roar that saved Samuel from possible death at the hands of the Roman soldiers. 216 . they shall turn back. Abia remembered leaving out an important piece of the story. Yaron’s laugh became infectious as he held the kitten in the air with both hands and repeated the remainder of the exact psalm of King David: “The Lord has heard the voice of my weeping.Danc ing wit h Jesus movements that came from the revelations of the Spirit through dance. still holding the tiny sleeping “lion. everyone was amazed and astonished at the goodness of God and the new ways He was using the dance.” While praying as she danced. All my enemies will be ashamed and greatly dismayed. God had confounded the mighty Roman soldiers. Yet.” With a small kitten. they will suddenly be ashamed. “The Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. Judah took his place with the Ben-David family as its newest addition. Dance was a new type of prayer and a tool for intercession and warfare.” pronounced that their new pet’s name should be Judah! One of the names of God is “Lion of Judah. Suddenly. Dance movements communicated the needs on Earth and the answers that were found in Heaven. and they had retreated. As Abia explained all this. The Lord has heard my supplication. the Lord receives my prayer. that a psalm from King David came to her mind. which caused the soldiers to run away to escape with their lives. totally bewildered. The roar of the lion shook the ground with its loud sound. she remembered hearing. The Lord has heard my supplication. while she was dancing and praying. She recalled. it seemed like more than just acting out the movements. by spiritual ears. Yaron.
This seemed to be an example of what He had spoken in the upper room that day. These keys are to bind or forbid on Earth what is not allowed in Heaven. Jesus had said that those on Earth would have the ability to speak in His name by His authority inside the will of God. Jesus also said those with these keys 217 . Revelation from Heaven came by the Holy Spirit to her spirit and was manifested into dance movements that brought forth change in the earthly realm. It was truly amazing that God would open the heavens for her to have His perspective and understanding. It was equally amazing that the Holy Spirit had allowed her to participate through the dance of intercession to bring about change in the life of Samuel. her mind and spirit again were whirling from the events of the day and evening. He said these same ones would have the keys of the Kingdom.C H A P T E R 3 0 Following the Sound of a New Partner As Abia lay in her bed waiting for sleep that night.
holding her belly as if giving birth.Danc ing wit h Jesus possessed the same power to loose or permit on Earth that which is allowed in Heaven. and anointed to dance prophetically. “I have many more things to say to you. In travail. “Yes. equipped. He was bringing clarity and understanding to the things she had been given. She pondered all the events that had occurred including John the Baptist’s death. The dance as a means of prayer through the leading of the Holy Spirit brought the revelation and power to use the keys and change the Earth. This new and unique prophetic dance would require more than movements alone to bring about the things in Heaven for Earth.” He said. “Can I bear them now?” Abia asked. it was loosed on Earth. The revelation and discernment that were to occur would be life-changing. and spirit jumped to attention as if she were a well-trained soldier awaiting orders from her superior. The truth of it was almost more than could be comprehended. In Heaven. Movements with understanding were imperative. Therefore. the revelation sound of the dance given in the upper room. She left her bed and fell to the floor. Jesus’ death dance. This one thing Abia knew for sure: It was an incredible honor to be called. mind. Abia’s body. there is protection from evil and harm. 218 . the Holy Spirit was birthing more revelation in her spirit for the dance. To pray for that on Earth for Samuel was within God’s will. thoughts of sleep were gone.” said the now familiar voice of the Holy Spirit. As she continued to lie in her bed. and now the dance that helped deliver Samuel away from harm.
Whether she was in a trance or asleep. leaving her no room to boast. nor did she desire to. This heavenly awareness was to come through a series of clips from scenes of the past. In humility. in some small way. In His presence. she could not stand. but it was not for her alone. Abia wrote of the great honor given her. Jesus. Abia wondered if. 219 . She merely became the scribe and reporter. The understanding and discernment given by the Holy Spirit came from beyond her own life’s experiences or intellect. The spiritual knowledge and sensitivity came from only one place: It was revealed by God. At long last. All that she heard was inspired by the Holy Spirit.Following the Sound of a New Partner For one quick moment. The presence of God was as tangible as the light from the small oil lamp resting on the table beside Abia’s bed. she could not say. this was how young Mary must have felt when she gave birth to our Lord. It was written in obedience and without regard to her own inadequacies. her many questions were being answered.
David. They were among the Great Cloud of Witnesses in the upper room on that celebrated and glorious day of Pentecost. and some others knew in part. It was right and appropriate for them to witness the prophetic sound of the dance when you heard it for the first time. secrets which have been hidden from most until such a time as this. am about to reveal to you. “Like all prophecy. They heard the sound of the dance centuries ago and prophesied this day through their own movements as they danced.” 221 .” He informed her of the dance and the lessons He wanted New Testament believers to understand. Miriam. Abia. it is spoken from God and given to people for people to obey. Yet. but the revelation you are about to receive they would be envious to be given. they were the forerunners of worship in the dance.C H A P T E R 3 1 Dance Lessons “I. the Spirit of God.
Just as she had been about to be overwhelmed. but more importantly.” the Holy Spirit boldly declared! Abia could not help but smile at His self-confidence. tutor.” He prophesied. Jesus was able to bridge the wide chasm between Heaven and Earth to restore what had been stolen in the Garden of Eden. I am your dance partner. He could only reach but a few during His lifetime. After fulfilling His divine destiny on the cross. her heart was suddenly warmed by His compassionate sense of humor. as the second Adam. but regrettably. train. and I am quite good. You are just beginning to know Me.” Passion shook His voice as He remembered how satan had perverted it. It has a divine purpose. Jesus knew of His limitations on Earth as a man. Little One. you will not dance alone. the godless enjoyed it as well. I will answer your questions. He was indeed the Comforter. “It is one of the many ways one can express love. “Dance became something enjoyed by the holy. As the return of Jesus gets closer. came to you in the upper room that glorious day just as Jesus had promised. dance will have a greater purpose and will become more and more important. the Holy Spirit of God. and with great consideration it will be restored. I will educate. accomplished what the first Adam could not do.Danc ing wit h Jesus “There is much for you to know.” His voice signified how special those times were. Be assured I will bring all things to your remembrance. “Dance is being redeemed. “I. Jesus. I will teach you many things. so do not fear. but in doing so. for I am doing a new thing. and coach you about dance. more questions will spring forth. This is a journey. and through the dance. Relationship is what the Father has always wanted with His children. His confidence brought her peace. He fulfilled the requirement of the Law and paid the ulti222 . “Did you know we danced in The Garden with Adam and Eve?” the Holy Spirit inquired rhetorically. I will speak and you will listen.
“Until that great and magnificent day. “Sin requires a blood offering. Their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. she will reflect His glory. A redeemed Bride was gathered from those who satan had snared away from the Father and who were now restored back to their God. ‘Behold. and now I am able to abide and tabernacle in each believer until Jesus’ return. who conquered death by rising again on the third day. For it is through Me that she has the power to become the spotless and blameless Bride Jesus is returning for.Dance Lessons mate penalty for sin that could only be satisfied by becoming the sacrificial Lamb. the Holy Spirit then declared. He died on your behalf and on behalf of all who believe in Him. the Christ. Jesus’ death on the cross met God’s requirement. As a gift to His obedient Son. Father gave up His own Son for the Bride. the Father has presented Me. A tremendous banqueting table will be set and made ready for the day when the Father allows Jesus to bring His Bride back to Himself. She is the redeemed Eve as Jesus is the redeemed Adam. the Father ordained to give to Him what every creature on Earth had—a mate. He could restore the relationship He desired with His people. “When God became a man in the likeness of Jesus. “There is always a price to be paid for a bride. Everyone who repents and believes in Jesus as the Son of God. and Jesus gave up His own life to purchase her back. the Spirit of God. Jesus will be preparing a mansion for His Bride. I am the seal in her heart through which the agreement is kept. Being made like Jesus. He even died for those who choose not to believe in Him and who will never know the great benefits He offered them. God will make part of the Bride of Jesus. to all who follow Jesus.” With holy pride that could only come from deity. the Bridegroom comes!’ she will hear. I am the guarantee or the down payment to keep Jesus’ Bride faithful to Him until His return. 223 . “As a betrothal gift.
governing. Abia. The Inaugural Dance will be a formal ceremony to open or mark the beginning of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and her permanent change of position. but only one can lead. is the mission of the prophetic sound of the dance you heard that glorious day in the upper room. “This. the Bride’s responsibilities will include being a ruler. Jesus will take His collective Bride by the hand and will dance with her. To believe in Him is an honor. It allows His dance partner opportunities to practice following Him. ‘Jesus is alive and the Spirit of God is alive in me!’” He divulged excitedly. the Inaugural Ball will begin. Dancing on Earth provides an opportunity to do on Earth as it is in Heaven. for there is a divine purpose and plan. and to house the Holy Spirit of God Himself was more than mere flesh and blood could realize. requires a leader to follow. The Bride of Christ will share His throne to rule and reign forever and ever. As the partner of Christ and joint heir to the throne. to be considered the Bride of Christ. but to dance with Him—unimaginable! 224 . Abia could hardly comprehend what was being spoken by the Holy Spirit for the magnitude of it was too grand to grasp. and children must simply believe Jesus to be the true Son of God. this dance includes two partners. By its design.Danc ing wit h Jesus “On that special day. As a prophetic dancer. like becoming a Christian. Dancing with Jesus. and decreeing the will and purposes of God. “It is necessary for dance to be redeemed from its former worldliness and evil use. She is royalty. women. What manner of love the Father had bestowed on her! To be part of the Body of Christ. and the Father has proclaimed it so. Abia’s spirit instinctively craved the ability to respond to the incredible revelation by lowering herself before such a high and lofty God. the Bride of Christ will be telling others. The dance will be the first formal act of introduction and will signify to all her official position with Jesus. Love and honor have been offered to humankind in an unprecedented way: men.
heirs according to promise. She has the ability to gain the respect of others and influence or control what they do. the completed work of the cross. with Jesus’ words fulfilled and proclaimed by each dance. and the assurance of the Holy Spirit. for you are all one in Christ Jesus. for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.’ “Redeemed. “The prophetic sound of the dance heard by the Bride of Christ means a change in her identity. a holy nation. And if you belong to Christ. “The Bride must not only behave as royalty. The Bride will be an official body that is set up by the King of all kings to administer in areas of activity in Heaven and on Earth. As royalty. divinely inspired dance speaks the truth of the promises of the Father. and your sons and daughters will prophesy. and now is.’” The Holy Spirit recited Joel the prophet of old. a people for God’s own possession. She is neither Jew nor Greek. Being granted His authority involves having the power to act on Jesus’ behalf with official permission to do so. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.Dance Lessons The Holy Spirit seemed delighted with the reverence Abia showed Him as He continued His teachings. your young men will see visions. You are a chosen race. so that you may proclaim the Excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. God is spirit. 225 . “‘And it will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind. which includes the right and power to enforce rules and give orders. your old men will dream dreams. as well as Jesus when He spoke to His disciples: “‘But an hour is coming. With legitimate power. but she must know she is royalty. she will establish precedent or principles. then you are Abraham’s descendants. and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. there is neither slave nor free person. there is neither male nor female. she has Jesus’ authority. a royal priesthood.
I am also a wonderful dancer.” the Holy Spirit proceeded. In fact. 226 . and experience. He is royalty and holy. the Spirit of Fire. the Oil of Joy.Danc ing wit h Jesus With godly wisdom. Each movement will have appropriate procedures. the Spirit of Jesus. I am also her Teacher. Power. I am the Helper. the Spirit of Glory. pure. including a code of behaviors that are correct. “I am the Holy Spirit. “Until the Inauguration Day when the Bride will dance with her King face to face. Jesus. the Guide. the Spirit of Judgment. the Great Counselor. she will learn and practice this on Earth. and the Spirit of the Fear of the Lord. the Spirit of Holiness. but the Bride will know me by other names as well. I am the Holy Spirit who is the third person of the Trinity and the spiritual force of God.” the Instructor persisted. guide. They will only be accomplished with My assistance. will partner with the Bride and will lead her in this new dance. rules. I. I will teach her to dance an eternal dance with her Beloved. Counsel. and direct her in proper dance etiquette and behavior. Knowledge. the Spirit of Grace. I am not a poor substitute for Jesus. the Spirit of Life. Understanding. and appropriate. “There are certain conventions or rules of correct behavior that must be learned for ceremonial occasions. skill. the Spirit of Wisdom. and as Esther before her. “Divine protocol will be followed. and I cannot fail. and practices. Remember. yet approachable and kind. I will instruct. she will be more than ready when she is presented to Jesus on that magnificent day. the Holy Spirit. “The Bride must learn to walk the fine line between being friends of God and never forgetting He is I AM. knowledge. she is worthy of respect and can hold her head high without shame when her identity is fully recognized. which will bring respect from others and will draw all attention to Jesus. the Spirit of Truth.
I do no ask on behalf of the world. they were Yours and You gave them to Me. Jesus. In her eyes will be a total reflection of Jesus. Jesus will proclaim to the Father the fulfillment of His earthly prayer: ‘I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world. but of those whom You have given Me. and they believed that You sent Me. and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You. It was an extremely passionate proof of His love for His Bride and obedience of the Father. It showed to all how I. try to picture how Heaven bent low to kiss Earth. and they have kept Your word. Love danced to Calvary so Love could one day dance with His Bride at the Wedding Feast. the Lover. when the perfect moment in time occurs when all is completed and redemption is completely fulfilled.” The Holy Spirit disclosed.Dance Lessons “Jesus loves weddings and the closeness they promise. He is focused and intent on having His Bride. The focus of Jesus’ death dance allowed a betrothal of marriage between Him and His Bride. His obedience at the cross allowed Me. “There will be a great and glorious day when the Bride will dance with her Groom. The created could abide in the Creator and the Creator in the created. Holy Spirit. to be brought individually to her for the first time. I am the Wine that seals the deal. the one His Father promised. “His first earthly miracle was at a wedding. Jesus’ crucifixion dance was an extremely intimate act. The joy of being wed to her made it possible for Him to endure the cross. found a lover to love. At the end of their dance. the Holy Spirit. Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You. It is all quite romantic! “Abia. Mercy reached out to touch grace. With a regal bow. Jesus will face the Father in the Holy City. He has made sure all has been done. am the New Wine offered to those who will drink. I ask on their behalf. for they are 227 . for the words which You gave Me I have given to them.
I do not ask You to take them out of the world. even as I am not of the world. and the world has hated them. I also have sent them into the world. whom You have given Me. Father. While I was with them. so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. the name which You have given Me. and these have known that You sent Me. and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition. that they may all be one. that they may be perfected in unity. Sanctify them in the truth. even as You have loved Me. and will make it known. and I have made Your name known to them. I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me.Danc ing wit h Jesus Yours. that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask on behalf of these alone. be with Me where I am. and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. and Yours are Mine. but for those also who believe in Me through their word. but to keep them from the evil one. so that the world may know that You sent Me. But now I come to You. so that they may see My glory which You have given Me. O righteous Father. yet I have known You. keep them in Your name. I have given them Your word. They are not of the world. because they are not of the world. 228 . although the world has not known You. that they also may be in Us. I desire that they also. that they may be one even as We are. For their sakes I sanctify Myself. even as I am not of the world. and yet they themselves are in the world. are in Me and I in You. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them. for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. I in them and You in Me. and I have been glorified in them. and loved them. I am no longer in the world. and I come to You. As You sent Me into the world. even as You. just as We are one. Father. that they may be one. and all things that are Mine are Yours. Holy Father. Your word is truth. so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
” There was a long silence after Holy Spirit spoke of the day when Jesus and His Bride would be presented back to the Father. with a heart full of love and devotion. Today we come back home to You.Dance Lessons so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them.’ “Taking His beloved Bride by the hand. Abia’s silence came as a result of trying to comprehend the wonderful day. Your Son and the Bride You have chosen for Me. ‘I present back to You. and I in them. Father. Jesus and His Bride will wait. returning to the Garden of Eden and into the opened arms of the Father.’ Jesus and His Bride will joyously run hand in hand over the bridge. The bridge will be flanked by cherubim and flaming swords flashing back and forth. Together. guarding its entrance. Jesus will move her toward a beautiful bridge with the river of life running beneath. the cherubim will stand at ease for the first time in history from guarding the tree of life. “On the bridge peak. As Jesus and His Bride approach. 229 . the Holy Spirit’s silence came as the yearning and longing for the day overwhelmed Him. Jesus will say to His Father. we redeem everything lost to You.
C H A P T E R
Counterfeit to the Original
The Holy Spirit spoke to Abia at times as though they were best friends having conversation over hot tea. Other times, she heard no sound at all, but her spirit was inspired with words of knowledge and the wisdom to understand them as He disclosed more and more about the dance. Deeper revelation of the dance came as He taught her to listen with her spirit. He said that spiritual things must be spiritually discerned. The flesh could not understand the ways of God. If dance was to be understood, the worshipers’ spirits would have to be awakened by the Holy Spirit Himself. They would need to follow Him by studying His steps and movements, but also His purpose and intention. The Holy Spirit wanted Abia to study the counterfeit, the dark, and the perverse use of dance to discover the opposite and true intention of dance. “For a true counterfeit illegally imitates the original.” The lessons were not for Abia alone. He was
Danc ing wit h Jesus
speaking to her personally, but also to her collectively, as the Bride of Christ. She was humbled to be spoken of and referred to as the Beloved of Jesus. When Abia began to study the dance that had brought about the death of the last of the prophets from the old Covenant, John the Baptist, it stood out as rather strange in light of the other types of dances and dancers she knew. From Abia’s earliest memory, she had heard stories of Miriam, with a timbrel in her hand, and how she danced with great celebration and jubilation after the Jewish people crossed over the Red Sea. She witnessed the incredible miracles of deliverance by the hand of God, and she danced in remembrance of that extraordinary event. She was the first to dance to what was happening around her. There were also amazing stories of King David. He was a king who had danced with all his might before the Lord when he brought the Ark of the Covenant into the city of David. The tangible presence of God Almighty had found a home with His people after 200 years of separation. By example, King David used dance to set into place the order of worship for God’s people to follow. With that in mind, Abia’s question remained, Why would the Lord allow me to see the beheading of John the Baptist? She wondered, If this unsanctified dancer, Salome, and her unholy dance presented a fraudulent or negative impression of what dance was created to be, what can the Originator of the dance be saying to me? The Holy Spirit led her to study the life and ways of the people involved in the dances Abia had witnessed. By examining them, greater revelation came as to what dance was intended to be. To be able to dance at the Inaugural Banquet Feast, dance indeed had to be understood, redeemed, and purified.
Counterfeit to the Original
The death of John involved more than the use of seduction to gain what was desired. This dance was complex: life, kings, kingdoms, and authority were all at stake. The Holy Spirit showed Abia how the intention of the heart and character of a person can inspire good or evil and equally impact them both. Dance is powerful. It was not an insignificant part of this tragic story. In the hands of the wicked it was used as a weapon to murder. There should be one standard by which to measure everything, and His name is Jesus, the Holy Spirit reminded her. Dancers, kings, and all others should use Jesus as the benchmark after which to pattern themselves. Discernment became much easier when He was the gauge. Having a greater understanding of Jesus was the means by which critical assessments of people and circumstances could be made. With Jesus as the mirror, the true meaning of the dances Abia had witnessed could be understood. Herod offered up to half his kingdom to a dancer because Herod’s physical pleasures were of greater importance to him than his kingdom, making him an earthy and foolish ruler. He had accepted the prostitution of his stepdaughter for his own fleshly and perverted gratification. The dance became a performance. It became a means to entertain and be entertained, to seduce and be seduced, and it was used for wickedness, not holiness. The dance was allowed to become a weapon used in the wrong hands, bringing destruction. The Holy Spirit told Abia, “Herod Antipas was in direct opposition to what a true and godly king should be. He was a counterfeit king. Jesus, on the other hand, is the true King of all Heaven and Earth. He has legitimate authority over both. Those who have been born anew through the resurrection power of Jesus and the completed work of the cross are spiritually adopted into the family of God. They are legitimate heirs to His throne by the death dance of Jesus Christ. As joint heirs to His Kingdom, the same authority given to Him is given to them.
Danc ing wit h Jesus
“When worshipers dance, they are interceding and are warring on behalf of God’s Kingdom with authorized, legitimate authority. There are no limits when people intercede for the will of the Father, the Son, and Me, the Holy Spirit. We will move Heaven and Earth when there is agreement with Us. “The new prophetic dance is used to bring increase to the Kingdom of God. Jesus died for the people of God, and it is His desire that none will perish, but that all will have eternal life. To dance out of your loving relationship with Him requires that He lead and move you in the direction of His heart. Be passionate about those things He is passionate about, namely His Bride and doing the will of the Father. “When I, the Holy Spirit, instruct dancers to dance, they will have His heart and should keep His will ever before them. They will be Kingdom-minded, and with salvation for the people as the ultimate mission and goal, pleasing the true King is assured. “Herod allowed dance in his palace; My dwelling place is in the believers, who have become temples in which I can abide. They are allowed and encouraged to dance in Jesus’ presence because it is for the edification and salvation of others. It will bring about destruction of the enemy and cause the demons to flee. The dancer’s reward is manifested in a variety of ways, including healing, prosperity, wholeness, deliverance, peace, and freedom, among the many treasures God has promised. Dancing can reach into the heavens and pull down all those things the Father has provided for humankind when it is done in faith and by My power.” The Holy Spirit unraveled yet more mysteries to Abia, “While caution should be used, not to perform or to make a show of dance, dance as worship can bring personal and corporate gain. It will bring forth life and life more abundantly. “Reflecting on Herodias, wife of Herod Antipas and mother of Salome, we can see that she had a profound hatred of the prophet
“With manipulation and control as her weapons. In doing so. and made a weapon of death from it. all the while planning John’s death. it is made righteous. and herself. criminal. These chosen ones will hear the sound of the dance. Abia. used dance for her own reward as well. just as you did. a lying and perverse spirit. “I know the value and power of a believer’s dance for I lead it. Salome. Her movements were driven and directed by vanity and pride with self-promotion in mind. and holy. and her refusal to repent for her sins opened wide the gate of her spirit. godly. she killed the prophet and attempted to silence his prophetic voice. including a haughty spirit. she brought dishonor to her husband. They will take their places among dancers who have an anointing to intercede on behalf of others and ask for life instead of death. Her dance was anointed by evil. She prostituted herself and the art of dancing by using them for dishonorable. spirited and equipped by Jesus Himself and empowered by the power of God. She was not under the covering of God’s covenant and protection. As a pawn in the hands of satan. I will anoint and empower to dance with My power. She was self-focused. She used something God created. This allowed easy access to a multitude of evil spirits. and it produced evil fruit. and immoral profit and gains. perverted it. but she used it for evil. Salome was a counterfeit dancer. “The blood of Jesus has redeemed the dance. not God focused. and I use it for good for the Kingdom of God.Counterfeit to the Original of God. Herodias’ daughter. This dance troop will be a mighty force. Herodias used others around her in a dramatic guise of celebrating her husband’s birth. and a spirit of harlotry. While Herodias used her daughter for her own selfish gain. her own daughter. She knew the power and value of dance. She dishonored God’s anointed intention for dance. Those I will call to minister to God in the dance. the heavenly Father will allow His daughters 235 .
Each dance step is an unexpected means to gain an advantage over the enemy and for defending themselves and others in the Kingdom. the dance will bring God glory. but God is making His holy dancer a demonstrative prophet. it is deadly and devastating to the demonic. influence. it is by invitation and with His complete permission. and increase to His Church. Love will be their motivation. “Herodias knew dance would bring about a reward because it was used as entertainment. “The believers who dance in warfare and intercession will bring about death to the enemy and his schemes because the dancers have gained an audience with the King of kings. After all. They become His partner. for it is designed for inflicting harm on the enemy of God and his schemes. healing. Dance is indeed a weapon. and promote the desires of a loving and caring God for everyone’s benefit. This weapon in the hands of God is more powerful than the Bride knows. He chose to allow their dance to be an offering of sacrifice that is holy and acceptable in His sight. revelation. He will reward them with intimacy and with a greater love for Him and for others than they could ever imagine. He is pleased by worship and pours back into them His compassion for His people. They will hear His voice and together will move in this dance and do incredible things. will bring forth a greater harvest of souls to His Church. Dancers will indeed be an inspired mouthpiece of the will of God through movement. “Until that glorious day when the Bride takes her place at Jesus’ side. God will use the dance to give life to the prophetic and speak prophetically to the people. The counterfeit dance killed the prophet. just as it was with Jesus when He danced the death dance all the way to the cross. Through obedience and submission. While it may be beautiful and graceful at times. the Bride has much to learn.Danc ing wit h Jesus and sons to dance a dance that ministers life. and as a result. redemption. 236 . Godly dance movements persuade. Jesus invokes a reward when dancers are obedient to the dance for Him.
and the heavenly doors will be opened.Counterfeit to the Original “When the dancers rush to the throne room of God with personal or corporate petitions. ‘Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song. Dance. and knock. “Jesus’ death and the New Covenant made by the shedding of His blood make it so. In unity. fragrant smell of worship. let them sing for joy on their beds. Agreement with His Word brings unity. and giving it back to Him. and a two-edged sword in their hand. Let the godly ones exult in glory. there is alignment with God. Those petitions are made with delegated authority and power. to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron. to execute on them the judgment written.” the Holy Spirit said. Ask. The dancers will be successful at turning the face of God toward them because He cannot resist the sweet. For the Lord takes pleasure in His people. The restoration is simply taking what is God’s in the first place. The impossible will be made possible. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth. It is just as true for dancers as anyone else: they have not for they ask not. Praise the Lord!’ 237 . redeeming. Let Israel be glad in his Maker. with clean hands and a pure heart. Let them praise His name with dancing. The lame will walk. The blind will see. to execute vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples. and His praise in the congregation of the godly ones. seek. let the sons of Zion rejoice in their King. let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre. using it for His glory. and sanctifying all things. is much more. It will be liberated and delivered to its original design. God will command a blessing. When believers dance as King David. The curses will be turned to blessings. which was once considered something to do to celebrate the goodness of God. this is an honor for all His godly ones. “God is in the business of restoring. He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation. they will be granted. The morally corrupted dance will be rescued from the hands of the enemy and made pure through the purification of Jesus’ own blood.
Her heart motive. The Lord opened the door by showing Abia the power of dance when Samuel was protected from harm’s way. He had trusted her with both just as He trusts anyone He calls. and so are the dancers’ dances. He once said. Abia had witnessed the obscene dance of Salome and Jesus’ own death dance at the cross. and her destiny was set in place through a series of dreams that foretold the future. That is the sound of the new dance. The Holy Spirit continued His instruction. They are to remember all of His moves and actions and His purpose and destiny when He danced. He spilled His own blood for those 238 .Danc ing wit h Jesus “David knew the power of dance as a weapon. who trains my hands for war. Abia had been entrusted with the knowledge of the power and weaponry that dance is. It is the new dance sound that Jesus had heard and one that Abia also heard—partnering with Him in the dance to the sound of Heaven in order to change Earth. He is the Lord of the Dance. ‘Blessed be the Lord.” The Holy Spirit urged. Abia had been privileged to be allowed to see into the spiritual realm and witness the immediate results that dance intercession can bring.’ The Spirit of God. when she danced and interceded for Samuel. and my fingers for battle. David learned this and so must dancers of the New Covenant. It is one saturated in the same love and compassion that moved Jesus to His death dance. was based primarily on her love for him and her trust in God’s ability to protect. my rock. “Dancers must always remember Jesus’ death dance most of all. She was chosen when she was only four years old. Dance with Him. This new breed of dancer is to be purposeful and intentional just like Jesus. will guide and direct the movements of the dancers’ hands and fingers while dancing. The Word of the Lord is a weapon. It was what propelled her to dance on his behalf. Combined they become a powerful tool against the enemy and a wonderful key to entering into the chambers of Jesus’ own heart.
Jesus would be her only husband. “This is the calling of all worshipers and of worshipers who dance. the oil of gladness instead of mourning. He has sent you to bind up the brokenhearted. to comfort all who mourn. to grant those who mourn in Zion. this new dance. because the Lord has anointed you to bring good news to the afflicted. 239 .” Abia had been chosen because she possessed the heart of a worshiper. Abia would become a mother of the faith and one who taught dance by its original design and intention to others. for it was in Abia’s own heart to remain single for Him and His calling. but there are others. giving them a garland instead of ashes.Counterfeit to the Original who believe in Him so that they could have the privilege of partnering with Him in this life’s dance. Dancers of the Most High.” explained the Holy Spirit. in time. which Jesus had quoted as His life purpose. that He may be glorified. It was history-altering and timely. to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners. and her character reflected His. Jesus’ words were precious to her. the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. It had become the life purpose of Abia and all those who dance with Jesus: The Spirit of the Lord God is upon you. the planting of the lord. It was one of redemption and of grace. she would mature into a woman in love with her Beloved. but she would become a mother. to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God. The Spirit then spoke to her a personalized version of Isaiah 61. and the Holy Spirit knew that. So they will be called oaks of righteousness.” Abia was to do with dance what Adam had been instructed to do in The Garden: be fruitful and multiply dance to others. is not to be regarded as anything less than holy. She would instruct those whom Jesus would call. They are members of the remnant of those long ago who heard the sound and danced. This new thing He trusts worshipers with.
Abia’s Ishi taught her. God is the Creator who creates things and makes things happen. the husband taught his wife about the ways of God. “‘It will come about in that day. Her life was devoted to Him. He had to teach her. As God spoke.’” Her life was wonderfully full. The prophet Hosea had proclaimed centuries ago a truth that Abia adopted as her own.’ declares the Lord. Abia became the student. ‘That you will call Me Ishi [My Husband]. and He was completely devoted to her. For her to be able to instruct others. He explained how from the beginning. When the 241 . the heavens and the Earth were created. Fresh revelation came to her on an ongoing basis. movement and sound worked together. The Spirit of God was moving over the formless void and darkness that was over the surface of the deep. and in true Jewish fashion.C H A P T E R 3 3 Prophetic Sound and Movement Deeper revelation for dance came from the Lord regularly. with the Holy Spirit as her teacher.
darkness moved out of His way. All empty places must move to make room for an infilling of what God considers good. The prophetic sound of dance movements creates just as God created in Genesis. and places of vanity must give way to God’s better way. and made a distinction between darkness and light. creativity. Each will be a language of movement just as living as the spoken Word of God. and mind of God. “Since humankind was created by sound and by the movement of God the Father.Danc ing wit h Jesus Spirit of God moved. chaos. and fluttered by the wind. The manifestation of the glory of God. The harmonious blending of sound and movement commands personal. wastelands. movements in the dance. When that sound is awakened by the Holy Spirit. governmental. corporate. and deliverances. and Me. Prophetic utterances and commands of instruction or warnings are given with each dance activity. “When a Spirit-filled dancer moves by the Word of God. miracles. Jesus the Son. severed. This language of movement and gestures is a sound of Heaven converging upon the Earth. and worldwide blessings. national. will attract the presence of God. breath. healing. salvations. with all its abundance. “All those who are My dancers will be messengers who go after God’s heart and speak through their movements what is on 242 . This accumulative sound is mighty to the tearing down of all strongholds of the enemy. His head will be turned in that direction when dance is in unison with Him. coupled with a broken and contrite heart. riches. humankind has the same sounds within them. is accessible to those who wait upon the Spirit of God. Warlike energy to accomplish and administer in power are executed by sound waves coming from dance movements. “Jesus will speak through dance movements. splendor. hovered. all shadows. darkness. provision. Confusion. The Holy Spirit explained. the Holy Spirit. and all secret places of the enemy have to flee. He separated. Believers must do the same.
Prayers of intercession will make divine historic changes and will make predictions of the future. In doing so. I will speak and their faith response will be the Spirit’s language of dance. the collective sound deafens the enemy. which brings about changes in the world. All predators scramble from every victim at the roar of the Lion of Judah. “The sound of My powerful rushing Wind whirls the enemy from his place. Darkness trembles and runs from God’s glorious and awful majesty as the sound of lightning flashes in all directions. Dancers give expression to that which is received in the spiritual realm. This sound brings disorder and chaos to the enemy’s camp. When the sounds of Heaven marry the sounds of the prophetic on Earth. but the battle belongs to Me. She danced whenever she had the opportunity. “The movements of the dance disrupt and disturb the prince of the power of the air. Dancers cannot trust in movements. but in Me. life will prophetically be spoken into every circumstance. “Every disease and sickness which is called by a name must bow before the sound of the name which is above every other name” declared the Holy Spirit. faith. 243 .Prophetic Sound and Movement the mind or heart of God. complete trust and confidence are a must. but now danced with purpose. Authority to speak forth the truths of God will be given. Because dancers called of God dance with Me in faith. the One who created all things and through whom nothing is impossible. Satan’s airspace is invaded by the prophetic dance sound waves that are made when dance movements occur. and growing understanding. Faith must be based solely on Me. This prophetic sound of the dance brings about change in the spirit realm. Worshipers will dance into battle.” Abia was determined to be a good student of what the Lord had revealed to her. rejoicing. Having faith in their own faith will not be sufficient.
With new understanding. When Abia returned home late that afternoon. One of the movements she felt inclined to do was to form her hands. as if he were a worshiper already! While visiting Judith and the baby one day. implies action. and as if Mora were in front of her. Abia pronounced to the unborn child: “For You formed the little one’s inward parts. she was burdened for Mora. Mora’s gossiping habit was a result of trying to be noticed and accepted by others. When Abia heard that Judith and Abraham were expecting a baby. faith and knowledge of the power of the dance became real to her as never before. Samuel John BenDavid was born healthy. Abia got word from Judith that Mora had received Jesus as her Savior and that she already saw the changes in her 244 . Abia became very concerned about Judith’s mother-in-law. She suffered greatly from unworthiness and did not understand how precious she was to God. Mora had experienced much rejection as an unwanted adopted child who had been passed from one relative to the next. Mora. she finally knelt down on one knee. Abia had a word of knowledge about Mora and the inner struggle she faced daily since early childhood.Danc ing wit h Jesus Dance. With each action. Abia danced and prayed prayers of intercession for her. Remembering the need to know God’s Word and make agreement with it. As she swirled around and around in a circle. You are weaving this one in her mother’s womb for she or he is fearfully and wonderfully made!” Months later. by its name. Abia danced with joy all around her sister and proclaimed the Word of God over the child while still in the womb. and his first action was to lift his hands in the air. Abia placed the crown upon her head. Abia felt as if the Holy Spirit wanted her prayer for Mora to embrace a new way of thinking as portrayed by the crown being placed on her head. she laid her hands on her sister’s stomach. into the shape of a crown. with joined palms and fingers outstretched. Abia took action to dance with Her Beloved. In the days ahead.
“Jesus bore stripes on His back and shed His blood for healing. Hannah’s fever peaked so high that everyone thought she would die as a result. When she danced with Jesus. “You have not because you ask not. In the winter. with her feet planted firmly on the floor. Abia started to move her hand as the cruel soldiers had done with Jesus as they took a whip to His back. be healed because it is the will of the Father. No good news was reported about Akil. Abia could say as the Shulammite woman of long ago. be healed!” Abia commanded. but for the two of them. but Akil’s own will was in the way of his receiving all that God wanted for him. With the room empty. the social planner. and Abia finally convinced her father to leave his wife long enough to get some much-needed rest for himself. so in the name of Jesus. Abia would make inquiries about Akil in the marketplace when the slaves and servants came to buy for the palace kitchen.Prophetic Sound and Movement thinking as her hardened heart softened with the knowledge of Jesus’ love. who rejected any mention of Jesus or any type of religion. Abia’s mother. Abia began her dance of intercession on behalf of her sick mother. As often as possible.” 245 .” Suddenly. She learned that dancing with Jesus brought to her peace as she had never known it. Abia declared God’s own words over her mother: “She will not die. She continued to lift him up in prayer. Momma. The Word of God says. Hannah’s fever broke the next day! Abia also learned something incredible. By the power of Holy Spirit and by the name of Jesus. As time marched on. who declared of her bridegroom. Abia was also praying and dancing on behalf of Akil. and tell of the works of the Lord. “He is my beloved and this is my friend. but live. Two days had passed.” and she was determined to ask and ask again if necessary. In Him there was help to handle life and its struggles. believing he had no need for it. she felt whole. and dancing was a wonderful gate into His presence.
the world seemed the same. Peace flooded her soul. and the smell of dyes boiling in the kitchen room permeated the air. Dogs barked at the unknown. The marketplace was busy with early morning shoppers. but Abia would never be the same. and the months passed. but if one listened more closely. One could not experience the reality of God and remain the same. Laughter could be heard. Abia’s mind could hardly absorb all that was revealed to her. Roman soldiers patrolled the streets. so could cries. From her window. Warrior Bride Daylight burst over the horizon each morning. 247 . At long last the questions that plagued her about Salome’s dance and Jesus’ death dance were finally answered. Life continued as ususal.C H A P T E R 3 4 Dance Onward. and people gave them a wide path when they passed. An inner excitement for the purpose and destiny God had for her and her prophetic dance burned within her.
mind. With the world full of trouble and trials in every direction. Abia declared with her body. that dream was one that did not come true! In reality. life was challenging and would have been impossible to endure without God’s grace and help. The Holy Spirit was maturing her in the new sound of the dance. They suffered horribly for believing in Jesus. Her intercession included prayers for national and worldwide revelation of Jesus and His teachings for all to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus. The desperation she sometimes felt was much like her dream. The disciples were spread far and wide. By putting her trust in Him. That reality would bring much comfort in the years ahead. leaving her with a sense of helplessness and despair. she discovered that He never leaves. it seemed the more the Church was persecuted. Fortunately. or loosens His grip on those He loves. when she was only four and the man of her dreams had let go of her hand. He became the lifter of her head. holding His hand was the only safe thing to do. preaching and teaching the Good News of Jesus. Abia danced publicly and privately with the leading of Holy Spirit for personal and corporate needs. She became more sensitive to His voice as He prophetically spoke through her and the dances He gave to her. Over and over again. Trouble still came. the more it grew. He instructed her to dance the faith dance and not be moved when her eyes did not often see evidence of much change 248 . the Lord allowed Abia to dance in intercession on behalf of Jesus’ disciples and for believers everywhere. She prayed all through the movements of the dance. but the outlook of being firmly planted in the palm of His hand gave new perspective and hope for the future. She danced on behalf of her town and government as to bring about the changes that would lead to integrity and moral purity.Danc ing wit h Jesus With each month that came and went. and spirit the words of God each time she danced. much to the astonishment of the government and religious leaders. Yet. forsakes.
Sounds of spiritual fire. but not prospering. She was moved by the sounds of the cadence from the war horses when a battle ensued. Sounds of the wounded and brokenhearted could be heard.Dance Onward. Victory could be heard in God’s camp when more lost souls turned their hearts to God. He would handle the rest. When Abia heard and added her agreement. and rain 249 . The new sounds were the clues to how she should dance.” The new prophetic sound of the dance made her develop a keen sense of hearing. She could prophetically hear the sounds of the ancient barriers being destroyed and ancient walls crumbling. She declared His power and ability with each move of her dance. and she danced God’s protection. She heard the sounds God makes at night when He goes without sleep. Warrior Bride around her. He assured her that faith in Him was all He was looking for. Ancient pathways and gates were being unlocked as she danced in intercession for greater intimacy for Jesus and His Bride. He commanded a blessing to each one. wind. and Abia applied His teaching to herself—“He who has ears to hear let him hear. Jesus had spoken to His disciples. The heavenly storehouse creaked open as Abia prayed for His provision to meet the needs of His people. She found that when she leaned close to her Beloved she could hear the new sounds and dance accordingly. Abia began to hear the prophetic sounds of the rod of Christ’s rule and authority coming into the earthly realm while she awaited His return. Abia heard the sounds of weapons being forged against the Church. her hearing increased. and the sound she danced to and from became clearer as her faith grew. Answers to prayers could be heard as golden bowls were filled. As she matured in her faith by dancing her life’s dance with Him. She began to hear the sound of the chambers of His heart opening for her and the Church as their love for Him grew. She heard the sounds of the enemies as they approached.
She was given the honor of being able to hear the sound of God’s hands breaking the arms of humankind’s enemy. Justice had a sound that shattered the lies of injustice from the enemy. as David had. Abia began to hear the sound of His footsteps on the stormiest seas of her life. she heard the sound of captives being released from their prisons. Hearing Jesus’s heart sing for joy when they let Him into theirs was a glorious sound. she heard the cries of the hopeless quieted. the hurting. she could hear the thud from stones hitting the “Goliaths” that were coming against God’s people. He allowed her. God gave her ears to hear false prophets and false witnesses. The many names of God could be heard to give her intercession greater impact and power when she came into agreement to each one. and the Holy of Holies. The ability to hear Scriptures increased. The Lion of Judah’s roar shook her to her knees. Sometimes Abia could hear the groaning sounds of Jesus’ intercession on humankind’s behalf.Danc ing wit h Jesus could be heard. The Father’s laugh could be heard when His enemies approached. Abia was allowed to hear the cries of the poor. by the power of the 250 . God inhabited the praises of His people. As Abia raised her arms. Abia was allowed to hear His whisper calling her to go into the Outer Court. With prophetic ears and by the power of the Holy Spirit. just as in the days when a pillar of smoke and fire had led God’s people through the wilderness. the hungry. the Inner Court. At the touch of those same strong hands. and she could hear the sound of demons fleeing at His command. and she discovered that the sound of generational strongholds being broken and dry bones coming together was an astounding sound Shifting and transformation had a sound. and the helpless. especially when the people resisted the help of God. When she battled on behalf of others.
Unfortunately. On the day Jesus was crucified. were extended to humankind as they joined with Him in the dance. Warrior Bride Holy Spirit. she gained more and more freedom and liberty. God’s breath had a sound when it entered someone who had once been strangled by an invisible enemy that desired to keep His people bound in religion and not relationship. The apostle Paul taught the Roman Christians. As her relationship with God the Father.” Following the Holy Spirit as she danced was one of the most exciting things Abia had ever experienced. “Faith comes from hearing. some refused to believe and had found no covering from God. which left her totally uncovered and resulted in the death of a prophet.Dance Onward. whom Abia had heard 251 . God the Son. But death could not hold down the King of kings. the veil was rent so believers in Jesus could dance before Him and with Him. Spiritual ears were quickened for His revelation and His Word. to hear the swords of angels being unleashed to do battle in the heavenly realm for God’s promises to be manifested on Earth. Abia was often given the privilege of hearing in the Spirit the sound of a drop of blood as it rolled from the stripes on Jesus’ back when she was praying for someone’s emotional and physical healing. and hearing by the word of Christ. God brought about much healing in her heart each time she danced before Him. and God the Holy Spirit became richer. It was amazing to her that God’s hands. He was alive and so were those who believed in Him. She prayed that she would never take for granted this privilege. The good work that was started when she became a believer and was baptized continued. Abia discovered that an amazing benefit came when she danced. Poor Salome had danced with her many veils. Hearing the sound from God was vital to faith. which held the Earth and galaxies. So it was with Salome.
The provision of so many grandsons helped soften the blow of Abia’s decision not to marry and. Herod Agrippa. had now suffered an ironic death. More than once. the ice broke suddenly before her feet. She fell into the water up to her neck. They rested in the knowledge that. it did not stop their prayers for Abia to change her mind one day and make room in her heart for some nice Jewish man. who was a companion of the Emperor Caligula. because of the hope they had in Jesus. It was true of Abia’s parents. Many times in the days. Emperor Caligula gave Herod Antipas’ land away to Agrippa. and had him banished to Lugdunum (Lyon) in Gaul.Danc ing wit h Jesus had recently died. who had been successful at turning the heart of Herod by using dance as a murder weapon. as Salome was walking over the somewhat shallow part of a frozen lake. the believers’ only refuge was found in the comforting arms of Christ. Nonetheless. had him removed from his office and position of power. nothing would separate them from His love or their loved ones in this life or the next. not to produce for them more grandchildren. But 252 . But Herodias’ brother. As the frozen ice fragments danced back and forth. It was reported that. Regarding Herod Antipas. Salome. months. dance seemed like the last thing Abia wanted to do as the unrest all around them seemed to take control. therefore. Herodias finally convinced him to go to Rome and demand of Emperor Caligula that he be granted the title of king. tricked his sister out of the crown she so passionately pursued. and years that followed. leaving her head on a platter of ice. Salome’s head was severed. Yet her parents grew to understand her calling and valued what she was doing and how she was furthering God’s Kingdom in a very special way. Turbulent times faced the Ben-David family in the days ahead. who were allowed the honor of holding on their laps three grandsons apiece from Samuel and Mary as well as from Judith and Abraham.
As she opened the door. Life made so much more sense to her as a Christian. It was then that she would hear the new heavenly dance sound once more and dance with the Lord of the Dance. giving her hope and direction in life. she saw three young women and two young men. the small group stood before her. of all shapes and all nationalities. As she peered through the window. Just then. During one of the times. she saw in her spirit others who were partnering with her in the dance. As they danced. They had hearts for worship and a tremendous love for Jesus. It was hard for her to imagine millions of believers who would hear the sound of the dance and respond. Her hope and purpose in life came from Him because all the world could offer her was a counterfeit or a poor substitute to what He offered. Abia had seen them many times before in the marketplace and at feasts and special festivals. “God sent us to enquire from the one who hears the prophetic sound of the dance and dances with Jesus. as she danced before Him. They said. she found rest from life’s struggles and pain. She was His dancer.Dance Onward. THE END 253 . Abia always found peace in her Ishi’s arms. He promised that life’s problems would not go away. she heard a knock on at her door. and her desire to minister in the dance pleased Him. He confirmed to her His love. especially when they danced. but He also promised that He would hold her hand as they walked and danced through this life on Earth together.” Abia knew it had begun. swirling around and around with Jesus as their lead. She saw millions of them of all ages and both sexes. Warrior Bride when she turned from the world and turned toward Jesus. The knowledge of being loved by her Creator was incredible.
lindafitzpatrick2011@gmail.About Linda Fitzpatrick Linda Fitzpatrick is wife. From the foothills of northern Georgia and other states. mother.com www.worshiperswindow. Africa. minister in the dance by Jesus. She has personally experienced the restoration power of dance when it is married with the Word of God as the Holy Spirit ushers healing down the aisle to the wounded soul. the broken restored. It was soon discovered that many of the women longed to have a greater. more intimate relationship with Jesus. Fellowship of Living Praise Dance Ministry Team has learned to dance following the Holy Spirit. and a woman who loves Jesus and has heard His call to dance and to minister in the dance for the past nineteen years. with the Father’s fullest blessings. Jesus. Mimi (of two precious grandchildren). As Prayer Minister Coordinator and team leader at her church. For the last twelve years. and Ghana. resulting in a dance team finally being formed seven years later. A weekly Bible study was formed to study their dance partner. Canada. and the Bride of Christ victoriously dancing. but life experiences made intimacy with anyone challenging. to Ottawa. Linda’s heart is to see the wounded healed. Her journey to dance began when several women from Fellowship of Living Praise Church desired to worship Jesus in a more intimate way. Linda has shared Jesus’ love and the importance of prophetic intercession dance as a weapon used for the Kingdom of God.com Twitter: soundofthedance Facebook: Linda Fitzpatrick and Dancing With Jesus .
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